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Thread: Are Angry Women More Like Men?

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    Are Angry Women More Like Men?

    ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2009) — "Why is it that men can be bastards and women must wear pearls and smile?" wrote author Lynn Hecht Schafran. The answer, according to an article in the Journal of Vision, may lie in our interpretation of facial expressions.

    Man's face expressing many emotions. A large set of studies shows that men's faces are perceived as angrier and women's faces as happier overall. (Credit: iStockphoto)

    In two studies, researchers asked subjects to identify the sex of a series of faces. In the first study, androgynous faces with lowered eyebrows and tight lips (angry expressions) were more likely to be identified as male, and faces with smiles and raised eyebrows (expressions of happiness and fear) were often labeled feminine.

    The second study used male and female faces wearing expressions of happiness, anger, sadness, fear or a neutral expression. Overall, subjects were able to identify male faces more quickly than female faces, and female faces that expressed anger took the longest to identify.

    "The present research shows that the association between anger and men and happiness and women is so strong that it can influence the decisions about the gender of another person when that person is viewed briefly," said Ursula Hess, PhD, from the Department of Psychology, University of Quebec at Montreal.

    According to the report, the findings from this study as well as others lead to the idea that "the face is a complex social signaling system in which signals for emotion, behavioral intentions and sex all overlap."

    Hess said that the same cues that make a face appear male -- a high forehead, a square jaw and thicker eyebrows -- have been linked to perceptions of dominance. Likewise, features that make a face appear female -- a rounded, baby face with large eyes -- have been linked to perceptions of the individual being approachable and warm.

    "This difference in how the emotions and social traits of the two sexes are perceived could have significant implications for social interactions in a number of settings. Our research demonstrates that equivalent levels of anger are perceived as more intense when shown by men rather than women, and happiness as more intense when shown by women rather than men. It also suggests that it is less likely for men to be perceived as warm and caring and for women to be perceived as dominant."

    This research is part of a larger set of studies showing that men's faces are perceived as angrier and women's faces as happier. Hess' team is also investigating other facial features that affect the way people perceive emotion, including the effect of signs of aging such as wrinkles and furrows on the perception of emotions in the faces of the elderly.

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    This being also related, like I stated before, to the progressive vs. infantile racial forms. The first are usually dominant people, well organised, more warlike and physically versatile, the latter often subdominant, living in less favourable areas, tend to be physically one sided saving variants.

    In Eastern Africa f.e., the most extreme case being that of the very reduced-infantilised and at the same time primitive Bambutids (Twa) vs. the progressive-elongated herder-warriors (Tutsi). They represent not just climatic adaptations (moisty tropical jungle vs. drier open land), different way of lifes (primitive hunter-gatherer vs. high standing herder-warriors) and nutrition (lower energy-more vegetables vs. higher energy and more proteins), but also the subdominant - dominant pattern.

    The more dominant and warlike a people is, the more their facial traits show progressive differentiation with a combination of Neotenic "nice" and aggressive hawkish facial features, in both tendencies very different from the primitive status and with the first being more pronounced in females, the latter in males because of sexual dimorphisms.

    The infantiles are as a whole more on the child-like side and the very primitive racial forms show little differentiation (Palaungid f.e.), very archaic traits with little facial expression in both sexes (Australid f.e.).

    In the intraspecific competition dominant-warlike males of progressive cultures and races were also made to intimitade the opponent by a very dominant, rather "hawkish" facial form, even without mimic, like in many Nordid and Atlantomediterranid, even more so in Dinarid and Iranid f.e., whereas the subdominant or formerly more primitive forms, which had a lower effective individual and group selection on a higher level, show more childlike or undifferentiated features.

    Dominant racial forms of progressive, well organised, versatile and warlike people of the past which represent "intelligent dominance":

    Nordid Norwegian

    Iranid Persian

    "Brutal physical dominance" of former hunter gatherers:

    German unreduced Cromagnoid

    "Childlike subdominance" in dependent tiller populations which say "I'm harmless":

    Extreme Alpinid examples

    The same pattern can be found in South East Asia:

    Lolo (Yi) warrior (socially dominant herder-warriors in Southern China-SEA) after v. Eickstedt:

    Palaung, simple farmer type (Palaemongolid, Palaungid subtype):

    East Africa with the very distinctive extreme types of the Tutsi, Hutu and Twa (dominant herder-warrior, subdominant tiller, primitive hunter-gatherer in an unfavourable region and subjected):

    Same in China, India, Arabia, North Africa, West Africa etc.

    So the neutral facial expression, even if being just part of a complete type and form of adaptation, was surely selected too via social and sexual selection in various forms, including that of "impressive features" necessary to intimidate others, to show a superiority even in the facial features or to appear harmless, so being more likely to be spared from execution or hard measures by the dominant people I guess.

    Its not just the simple form of sexual selection, otherwise the difference wouldnt be as extreme between racial forms.
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