Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

When women display this trait they are taken less seriously, yet for men it's the opposite

ThinkstockPhotos-489978372.jpg

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and become passionate, worked up, angry? Probably, you're a person, not a robot (we assume). Thing is, if you're a woman then that last feeling is sadly doing you no favours, according to a new study.

Published in the journal Law and Human Behavior, researchers Jessica Salerno and Liana Peter-Hagane investigated “whether expressing anger increases social influence for men, but diminishes social influence for women, during group deliberation”.

And guess what? The study reflected what many have suspected – or outright known through experience – for a long time: that expressing anger as a woman makes others take their opinion less seriously. Doing the same as a man, however, convinces others that same opinion is worth listening to.

peanuts

We're just so gosh darn emotional

As Pacific Standard reports, the study involved 210 undergraduates and gathered the details of a past, real-life murder trial. Each student had the same case details to examine, ambiguous enough that both guilty and not guilty verdicts were plausible. They were asked to record whether they believed the defendant was guilty or not guilty before having a conversation with other students in an online chat room.

However, the discussions were with fictional people, all of whom would agree with the participant's opinion on the verdict, except for one, who would hold an opposing view. In some chat rooms, the opposing view would be presented neutrally, in some angrily, and in others, fearfully.

It was found that when the dissenting opinion was expressed angrily by a user with a male name, the participant would start “doubting their own opinion significantly” – a male persona was able to influence them. When a 'woman' expressed the same argument, with the same anger, not only did it not have the participant doubting, it actually served to strengthen their original opinion. The results were the same with participants of both sexes.

shout

Only one of you is coming off well in this scenario

The paper concludes: “Mediation analyses revealed that participants drew different inferences from male versus female anger, which created a gender gap in influence during group deliberation.

“The current study has implications for group decisions in general, and jury deliberations in particular, by suggesting that expressing anger might lead men to gain influence, but women to lose influence over others (even when making identical arguments). These diverging consequences might result in women potentially having less influence on societally important decisions than men, such as jury verdicts.”

Just as actress Jennifer Lawrence worried that fighting for a wage on par with that of her male colleagues would have her labelled difficult to work with, or a “spoiled brat” (as the leaked Sony emails revealed Angelina Jolie was dubbed), so too do many women in everyday situations feel the same sense of unfairness at potentially being thought of as emotional and hysterical for being passionate or angry. 

Funnily enough, being taken less seriously makes one feel quite angry. Still, as Lawrence said, “I'm over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable”.

Images: Rex Features, Thinkstock

Related

jlaw.JPG

Read Jennifer Lawrence's call to arms on the gender pay gap

Cathy brown.jpg

Meet the women battling sexism to fight for a living

rexfeatures_3505137a.jpg

The one surprising factor that could cause you stress at work

ThinkstockPhotos-467866356.jpg

We uncover the hidden benefits of talking to yourself

Capture.JPG

Iranian men unite on social media in drive for gender equality

rexfeatures_4079425a.jpg

Leading female surgeon hits out at endemic culture of sexism

ThinkstockPhotos-177787885.jpg

There's a really simple way to improve your job interview chances

rexfeatures_5148040d.jpg

“It's shitty men are paid more for doing the same thing”

maternity pregnant.jpg

Maternity leave: we uncover the shocking truth

Comments

More

Muslim witness of Westminster attack responds to Islamophobic trolls

A picture of the woman walking on Westminster Bridge has been shared widely

by Nicola Colyer
24 Mar 2017

Bright, beautiful and bold Easter cake inspiration

Stylish bake ideas to nick and claim as your own

by Amy Swales
24 Mar 2017

An Avengers-style Disney princesses film could be in the works

24 Mar 2017

All the new emojis set to light up our keyboards

From breastfeeding to broccoli

24 Mar 2017

There's a sex side-effect which benefits you for 48 hours, study finds

It's all about what's known as the sex "afterglow".

by Hayley Spencer
24 Mar 2017

This is how much the houses in Big Little Lies cost

Spoiler: they're VERY expensive.

by Hayley Spencer
23 Mar 2017

Scientists reveal why you need to stop flaking on plans with friends

Don't flake it 'til you make it

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Mar 2017

Revealed: the number one reason that women break up with their partner

The truth hurts

23 Mar 2017

Been zombied? There’s now a name for this confusing dating behaviour

It's time to talk about the zombies of the dating world...

23 Mar 2017

10 female anthems to share with your mum this Mother's Day

The most moving anthems about motherhood by our favourite female artists.

by Alice Vincent
23 Mar 2017