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Mental & Emotional Health
Relationships & Love

Male/Female Differences: Not as Big as You Think

Although conventional wisdom says men and women are very different – men are stoic, women are emotional, for example – a new study indicates that the two genders are much more alike than commonly believed.

Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University, and colleagues conducted a synthesis of more than 100 meta-analyses of gender differences, according to a news release from the university.

Their findings, published in the journal American Psychologist, indicated an almost 80 percent overlap for 75 percent of psychological characteristics, including risk taking, occupational stress and morality.

“This is important because it suggests that when it comes to most psychological attributes, we are relatively similar to one another as men and women,” Krizan said. “This was true regardless of whether we looked at cognitive domains, such as intelligence; social personality domains, such as personality traits; or at well-being, such as satisfaction with life.”

At the same time, the researchers identified 10 characteristics that differed between the two genders. They said men were more aggressive, while women were more attached to their peers and more sensitive to pain.

Krizan said the conventional wisdom about gender stereotypes is so prevalent because “people tend to overestimate the differences [when] they notice the extremes,” Krizan said. He also said that people notice several differences at once, and that can give the impression of a larger difference.

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