Study: Men good at anger, women with joy

Jun 13, 2006

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study shows men are good at noticing angry faces, with women good at noticing surprised, sad or joyful expressions.

"The really interesting effect is the difference between males and females," Mark Williams, the study's lead author, told The New York Times.

Williams, a MIT postdoctoral fellow -- along with study co-author Jason Mattingley, a psychology professor at Australia's University of Melbourne -- wanted to determine how people identified emotions reflected in facial expressions.

The researchers showed pictures of human faces to 78 men and 78 women, with the photographs displaying varying expressions of anger, fear, happiness, surprise, disgust or neutrality. Participants were then asked in separate procedures to identify the emotions from among neutral ones.

Williams and Mattingley said both men and women consistently detected angry faces more quickly than terrified ones but the ease of detecting those angry faces depended on the participant's sex.

Men, the scientists found, were significantly faster than women when asked to find an angry face. On the other hand, women were quicker in identifying happy, sad, surprised or disgusted faces than were males.

The study is detailed in the journal Current Biology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: What I learned from debating science with trolls

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Premier FBI cybersquad in Pittsburgh to add agents

16 hours ago

The FBI's premier cybersquad has focused attention on computer-based crime in recent months by helping prosecutors charge five Chinese army intelligence officials with stealing trade secrets from major companies and by snaring ...

Recommended for you

What I learned from debating science with trolls

Aug 20, 2014

I often like to discuss science online and I'm also rather partial to topics that promote lively discussion, such as climate change, crime statistics and (perhaps surprisingly) the big bang. This inevitably ...

Activists urge EU to scrap science advisor job

Aug 19, 2014

Nine major charities urged the European Commission on Tuesday to scrap a science advisor position it says puts too much power over sensitive policy into the hands of one person.

More to a skilled ear in music

Aug 15, 2014

The first pilot study in Australia to give musicians the skills and training to critically assess music by what they hear rather than what they see begins this month at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.The study aims to ...

User comments : 0