University Study Finds Angry Men Are Persuasive But Angry Women Put People Off

ScalesA new study by women scholars at Arizona State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago finds that women who express anger during group discussions are likely to undermine their influence but men in the same situations who show anger tend to persuade others to agree with their position.

The authors presented evidence in a murder trial and then placed subjects in mock jury deliberations. But unknown to the participants was the fact that other members of the mock jury were following a script and were not part of the experiment. The results showed that when a women showed anger in the scripted deliberations, the study participants were less likely to be influenced by the woman’s position. But just the opposite was true for men. Men who expressed anger tended to persuade study participants to agree with the views expressed in anger. Both men and women participants in the study tended to be persuaded by “angry” men but were put off by “angry” women.

The authors state that their study “has implications for group decisions in general by suggesting that expressing anger might lead men to gain influence, but women to lose influence over others (even when making identical arguments). These diverging consequences might result in women potentially having less influence on societally important decisions than men.”

The paper, “One Angry Woman: Anger Expression Increases Influence for Men, but Decreases Influence for Women, During Group Deliberation,” was published on the website of the journal Law and Human Behavior. It may be accessed here.

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