Men And Women Have Vastly Different Personalities: Study
January 6, 2012

Men And Women Have Vastly Different Personalities: Study

A new study finds that men and women really do have profoundly different personalities, and that each sex has firmly entrenched characteristics.

European researchers analyzed a survey of 10,000 people -- half men and half women -- using a new method for measuring and analyzing personality differences they say is more accurate than previous techniques.

The personality test included 15 personality scales, such as warmth, emotional stability, dominance, liveliness, social boldness, sensitivity and openness to change.

The researchers then combined the scores on these traits to determine the "global difference" in personality between men and women — basically a sum of all the differences.

Previous studies have underestimated how much the sexes actually differ because they have computed an average score, said study researcher Marco Del Giudice of the University of Turin in Italy.

However, in the current study, the researchers found that very large differences between the sexes became apparent when comparing the overall personality profiles of women and men, even though differences appear much smaller when each trait is considered on its own.

The results of the analysis revealed that about 18 percent of women share similar personalities with men, while 18 percent of men share similar personalities with women.  However, the majority of women have personality traits that are rather distinct from those of men, and vice versa, the researchers explained in their report.

For instance, men tend to be more dominant, forceful, aggressive and emotionally stable, while women tend to be more sensitive, apprehensive and warm, said the researchers.

The study indicates that previous methods to measure such differences have been inadequate, both because they focused on one trait at a time and because they failed to correct for measurement error, the researchers said.

Therefore, the true extent of sex differences in human personality has been consistently underestimated, they explained.

The authors concluded that the true extent of sex differences in human personality has been consistently underestimated.

"Psychologically, men and women are almost a different species," said Paul Irwing of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, one of the study´s researchers.

But some in the field question the validity of the findings, saying the methods used for determining the results were flawed, and that men and women are not so different after all.

For instance, the men and women in the study assessed their own personality traits, and some people may be inclined to rate themselves in a way that conforms to gender stereotypes, said Janet Shibley Hyde, a professor of psychology and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin.

"It's not very manly to say that you're sensitive," she told Fox News.

Additionally, the way the researchers computed their numbers biases their results, because it amplifies the differences between males and females, she added.

The study was published January 4 in the online journal PLoS ONE.


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