MotherTalkers

Where real moms tell it like it is.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I Feel Your Pain!

When I read studies aimed at ferreting out gender differences, I get poised to do a little kung fu. Not because I think such studies shouldn't be done, but because so much cultural bullcrap gets poured into the analysis of the findings. Here's the latest: Men tend to enjoy revenge more than women, while women empathize more.

How were these generalizations arrived at?

The scientists scanned the brains of 16 men and 16 women after the volunteers played a game with people they thought were other volunteers but who in fact were actors. The actors either played the game fairly or obviously cheated.

...Each volunteer watched as the hands of a "fair" player and a cheater received a mild electrical shock. When it came to the fair player, both men's and women's brains showed activation in pain-related areas, indicating that they empathized with that player's pain. But for the cheater, while the women's brains still showed a response, men's brains showed virtually no specific reaction. Also, in another brain area associated with feelings of reward, men's brains showed a greater average response to the cheater's shock than to the fair player's shock, while women's brains did not.

Okay. Here's an alternative theory: Maybe the women didn't give a rat's ass if some research monkey cheated at a game in a lab. Maybe it has to do with how much members of either gender get worked up over games in general. If the cheaters were cheating on their wives rather than a game, I bet the lady brains would show feelings of reward when the cheater got zapped.

This weekend, I'll be watching a football game at a friend's place. My brain will register neither empathy nor revenge, no matter who wins or loses. My brain will register great, silvery waves of pleasure when a plate of hors d'ouvres passes my way.

20 Comments:

At Friday, February 03, 2006 5:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for this.

as a point of interest, I recommend that you get ahold of Dan Canary & Kim Hause's 1993 meta analysis on sex and gender differences in communication. In short, their findings strongly suggest that about 2% of the variance in communicative behaviors (including the findings you site, the idiotic conclusions by David Widman that men behavior is dependent on thinking 'spatially' because - again - of video game results) can be explained by sex; the other 98% comes from gender.

Of course, it doesn't help that the meanings have been so blurred that people will ask parents-to-be if they intend to find the "gender" of the fetus.

Or that some idiots continue to write, and others, to buy, the claptrap of John Gray's offshoots.

Backtracking, btw - a dkos user who came to mothertalkers through Markos' announcement. Thanks!

 
At Thursday, November 24, 2011 11:12:00 PM, Blogger mrblack said...

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