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Are Gender Differences in Emotion Culturally Universal? Comparison of Emotional Intensity Between Chinese and German Samples


Gong, Xianmin; Wong, Natalie; Wang, Dahua (2018). Are Gender Differences in Emotion Culturally Universal? Comparison of Emotional Intensity Between Chinese and German Samples. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 49(6):993-1005.

Abstract

Are gender differences in emotion culturally universal? To answer this question, the current study compared gender differences in emotional arousal (intensity) ratings for negative and positive pictures from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) across cultures (Chinese vs. German culture) and age (younger vs. older adults). The raters were 53 younger Germans (24 women), 53 older Germans (28 women), 300 younger Chinese (176 women), and 126 older Chinese (86 women). The results showed that gender differences in arousal ratings were moderated by culture and age: Chinese women reported higher arousal for both negative and positive pictures compared with Chinese men; German women reported higher arousal for negative pictures, but lower arousal for positive pictures compared with German men. Moreover, the gender differences were larger for older than younger adults in the Chinese sample but smaller for older than younger adults in the German sample. The results indicated that gender differences in self-report emotional intensity induced by pictorial stimuli were more consistent with gender norms and stereotypes (i.e., women being more emotional than men) in the Chinese sample, compared with the German sample, and that gender differences were not constant across age groups. The study revealed that gender differences in emotion are neither constant nor universal, and it highlighted the importance of taking culture and age into account.

Abstract

Are gender differences in emotion culturally universal? To answer this question, the current study compared gender differences in emotional arousal (intensity) ratings for negative and positive pictures from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) across cultures (Chinese vs. German culture) and age (younger vs. older adults). The raters were 53 younger Germans (24 women), 53 older Germans (28 women), 300 younger Chinese (176 women), and 126 older Chinese (86 women). The results showed that gender differences in arousal ratings were moderated by culture and age: Chinese women reported higher arousal for both negative and positive pictures compared with Chinese men; German women reported higher arousal for negative pictures, but lower arousal for positive pictures compared with German men. Moreover, the gender differences were larger for older than younger adults in the Chinese sample but smaller for older than younger adults in the German sample. The results indicated that gender differences in self-report emotional intensity induced by pictorial stimuli were more consistent with gender norms and stereotypes (i.e., women being more emotional than men) in the Chinese sample, compared with the German sample, and that gender differences were not constant across age groups. The study revealed that gender differences in emotion are neither constant nor universal, and it highlighted the importance of taking culture and age into account.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cultural Studies, Social Psychology, Anthropology
Language:English
Date:1 July 2018
Deposited On:09 Jan 2019 15:41
Last Modified:10 Jan 2019 08:37
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:0022-0221
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022118768434

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