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Research Study On Gender Differences

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Non-verbal communication is defined as communication without words. (Devito, 116) Throughout your interpersonal interactions, your face communicates many things, especially your emotions. (Devito, 125) Women are stereotyped in today's society as to being more emotional than men in emotional settings. Not in all instances is this true, however, men feel they need to set a strong, domineering, display of their emotions and the way they react towards certain emotional situations. Gender display rules are a set of rules that usually either male or female follow in order to fit their specific gender script in society. It is stated in the textbook that women talk more about feelings and emotions and use communication for emotional expression more then men, and because of this females express themselves facially more than men. (Devito, 148)

The research article I chose to summarize for part two of the textbook is titled,

" Gender Difference in Facial Reaction to Fear-relevant Stimuli". The focus of this was to discover whether females are predominantly more facially reactive than males, or whether females are more emotionally reactive in general, as reflected even by non-facial reactions such as autonomic responding and emotional experience. (Thunberg & Dimberg)

In previous research on nonverbal communication, results stated that females tend to be more emotional than men in emotional situations. (Thunberg & Dimberg) Research also found that imagery-induced emotions as well as visually presented emotional stimuli generate specific facial EMG responses that are interpretable as negative and positive emotional responses. Further studies with EMG testing, which is a test that evaluates reactions towards emotional activity, shows that women are more emotionally reactive in general. With these given results to previous research, the authors of this article presented two hypotheses, which they will use to explain the following study. These hypotheses are, 1. That when exposed to emotional stimuli, females are specifically more facially reactive, but not more reactive in other respects, and, 2, that females are more emotionally reactive in general. (Thunberg & Dimberg, 2) The main purpose of the study was to distinguish the results between the two given hypotheses.

Ninety-six students from Uppsala University participated in the study. The students were divided evenly considering their gender, forty-eight males, and forty-eight females. Each participant was tested on an individual basis in a sound attenuated room. Each student was placed 2 m from an overhead projector, which was used to display slides of flowers and snakes. The different slides were shown in blocks of six with pauses in-between each slide of one and eight seconds. (Thunberg & Dimberg, 2)

Facial EMG activity was measured bipolary over the Corrugator supercilli muscle region, with Beckman miniature Ag/AgCI electrodes filled with Beckman electrode paste. (Thunberg & Dimberg, 2). The researchers measured the muscle activity with a Colburn Hi Gain Amplifier, and the EMG signal was integrated with a Coulbourn Contour Following Integrator. All data that was collected was expressed in microvolts. The participants each had two Beckman Ag/AgCI electrodes attached to the second phalanges of the first and second fingers of the left hand to measure skin conductance. (Thunberg & Dimberg, 2) Furthermore, after the students saw each slide they were asked to rate how unpleasant they experienced the picture on a scale from 0 to 9, where 0 was not at all, and 9 was very high.

The EMG showed that males and females differed in their responses to the slides. Females displayed a larger reaction than males to the fear-relevant slides, where the males did not differ between any of the different slides. The results of the participants' ratings presented that there was no difference between females and males on the way they rated the unpleasantness of the stimuli. The study proved that females show a larger amount of facial muscle reaction than males to fear-relevant situations, however, there was no difference between the genders with the ratings of unpleasantness. The results of this study prove that females are more facially reactive than males. However, this study does not prove the second hypothesis, which states that females are more emotional in general. (Thunberg &Dimberg)

Part two of the textbook teaches about messages, which are spoken and unspoken. It covers in depth about non-verbal communication and non-verbal messages. The article I chose to summarize falls into a few different categories which the book emphasizes on. There is a lot of information about how females and males are supposed to act in society, which falls under the term Gender display rules. Due to the fact this research article is about differences in facial reactions between male and females,

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