Fighting To Understand : Interesting Emotional Facts

This information is totally not from my own brain. I found it during my Intro. Psychology class and wanted to pass it along.

Kring & Gordon
Although previous studies of emotional responding have found that women are more emotionally expressive than men, it remains unclear whether men and women differ in other domains of emotional response. We assessed the expressive, experiential, and physiological emotional responses of men and women in 2 studies. In Study 1, undergraduates viewed emotional films. Compared with men, women were more expressive, did not differ in reports of experienced emotion, and demonstrated different patterns of skin conductance responding. In Study 2, undergraduate men and women viewed emotional films and completed self-report scales of expressivity, gender role characteristics, and family expressiveness. Results replicated those from Study 1, and gender role characteristics and family expressiveness moderated the relationship between sex and expressivity.

Kring and Gordon found that women were more emotionally expressive than men. In response to happy films, women displayed more positive expressions. This finding is consistent with numerous other studies showing that women more freely express emotions such as fear, disgust, sadness, surprise and happiness.

They also found that men and women did not differ in their self-reports of experiencing emotions of happiness, sadness or fear during the film clips they watched. However, in terms of bodily arousal, men were more physiologically reactive than women were to the film clips eliciting fear. The two sexes did not differ in their physiological reactivity to happy or sad film clips. The findings suggest that men and women do not differ in the experience of emotions, but they do differ in the expression of emotions.

In conclusion, despite the fact that women perceive themselves as being more emotionally intense than men, men and women do not differ in their experiences of emotions. Women are more emotionally expressive than men, whereas men mask their emotions more than women do.

John Gottman: “Men Women and Conflict: Bridging the Gender Gap”

Flooding (feeling overwhelmed by your own emotions—feeling upset and out of control, experiencing high levels of physiological arousal, as heart rate and blood pressure skyrocketing)—men are more likely to become flooded during a disagreement, resulting in a high level of physiological arousal, then men and unable to listen to their partners’ views. then they go into the stonewalling mode(withdrawing emotionally in order to contain their emotions) and refusing to talk or discuss situations. However, women also “flood” emotionally, especially in reaction to a partner’s Stonewalling, then a vicious cycle begins.

Breaking the Vicious Circle of Flooding-Stonewalling-Flooding

Be aware of Gender differences—For men, stonewalling is a protective strategy. It represents an attempt to contain disturbing emotions before they become overwhelming and out of control. When women look at men’s stonewalling in these terms they’re less likely to interpret it as rejection and as a refusal to try to resolve differences. Rather than abruptly stonewalling and withdrawing, men need to explain their withdrawal, as “I need to be alone for awhile so I can calm down, then I will talk to you about this.” Women need to accept men’s need to temporarily withdraw from the situation.

Call a time out whenever either partner begins to feel overwhelmed on in danger of flooding. Take a 20-30 minute break from the conflict so each partner can regain his/her emotional balance and then return to the discussion.

Focus on Constructive Thoughts. Rather than rehearsing hateful or vengeful comments, use time out to focus on calming yourself and thinking positive thoughts about your partner. Think of ways to resolve the conflict, not ways to mount a counterattack!

Resolve the problem together. Men need to make a conscious effort to discuss and solve the problem at hand, rather than avoid it. Sidestepping a problem won’t make it go away, so try to solve the problem together.

Keep the Focus on Maintaining the Relationship. Although women should not avoid raising issues that are in need of resolution, they should try to do it calmly, avoiding personal attacks. Issues should be framed in the context of maintaining a loving relationship, not determining who is “right”.


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