Researchers find men use anger as manipulation tool with other men

Jan 14, 2014 by Bob Yirka report
anger
Credit: David Shankbone/Wikipedia

(Phys.org) —Researchers Uri Gneezy, with the University of California and Alex Imasc with the University of Amsterdam have together found that men understand the impact anger has on decision making and use that knowledge to help them manipulate other men when engaging in contests of both skill and strength. They have had their paper describing a study they conducted on the subject printed in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Most people intuitively understand that they and other people don't make decisions as well when angry as they do when they are calm. What's unclear is if people use that knowledge to manipulate other people—for example, by making them angry when trying to beat them at something. In this latest effort the pair of researchers sought to find out, if only in a limited way.

Gneezy and Imasc focused strictly on young for their study, enlisting the services of 140 male college students as . They asked them to participate in two types of experiments. In the first, all of the volunteers were asked to squeeze a device as hard as they could to see who could squeeze the hardest. To add an element of , they paired up the volunteers and allowed one to also assign administrative work to the other—the assumption being that the more work given, the more angry the second volunteer would become. In the second experiment, the volunteers were again paired off this time to compete against one another in a computer game—part of which had a component that would allow one player to antagonize the other, and vice-versa, thus giving them the opportunity to make one another angry, or not.

In analyzing the results of both studies, the researchers found that when angering an resulted in a better outcome for themselves (causing their opponent to lose concentration on a skill game) the men chose to anger the other man when possible. But when doing so would offer no such gains, or worse if it gave the opponent an edge (being angry might make them perform better with the hand grip) the men tended to not resort to making their opponent .

The researchers claim their limited test suggests that men use anger as a tool to manipulate other men (and possibly women) when wishing to best an opponent. Oddly, the researchers chose to not interview the volunteers to learn whether they were using anger intentionally or if it was an inadvertent response that came about without them having to even think about it.

Explore further: Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

More information: "Materazzi effect and the strategic use of anger in competitive interactions," by Uri Gneezy and Alex Imas. PNAS, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1313789111

Related Stories

Angry opponents seem bigger to tied up men

Aug 07, 2013

A physical handicap like being tied down makes men over-estimate an opponent's size and under-estimate their own, according to research published August 7 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Daniel Fessler and Colin Holbro ...

Studies' message to women: Keep your cool

Apr 02, 2008

New Haven, Conn.-Whether you are running for president or looking for a clerical job, you cannot afford to get angry if you are a woman, Yale University psychologist Victoria Brescoll has found.

Anger makes people want things more

Nov 01, 2010

Anger is an interesting emotion for psychologists. On the one hand, it's negative, but then it also has some of the features of positive emotions. For a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Associ ...

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

Dec 18, 2014

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

Dec 18, 2014

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

Dec 18, 2014

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Jimee
not rated yet Jan 15, 2014
What? No bullies out yet to dispute this?
orti
not rated yet Jan 15, 2014
Well. Dah. Look at two boxers at the weigh in.
rockwolf1000
1 / 5 (1) Jan 15, 2014
Wow. People continue to talk (type in this case) long after they've run out of things to say.
Thank you Captain Obvious once again!! Next study: Does water make things wet?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.