People Reward Angry Men But Punish Angry Women, Study Suggests

Academic studies can be fascinating… and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.

The Background

In this week’s Lenny Letter, Jennifer Lawrence described a scenario that many women can relate to: When she spoke her mind to a male co-worker, he replied, “Whoa! We’re all on the same team here!” He was essentially calling her overly emotional and aggressive, a statement that left Lawrence unsettled. “All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would have thought I had said something offensive,” she wrote.

Stories like Lawrence’s abound. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s laser-like passion earned her the description “absurd in her obsession with detail“; Senator Claire McCaskill was branded “aggressive” rather than “lady-like” while competing in the 2012 election cycle; and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer’s minority dissent in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action was discredited for being “overheated” and fueled by “emotion” in 2014.

These double-standards can be incredibly frustrating, especially in the absence of precise academic research to back up the mounting anecdotal evidence. Previous research suggests that women are not only stereotyped as overly emotional, but they’re also perceived as less influential, competent and rational than men during group discussions. And women are particularly punished for behaving dominantly.

To investigate this dynamic, researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted a study to see how people reacted to women versus men who expressed anger in a group setting.

The Setup

The researchers gathered 210 undergraduate students to participate in a computerized mock-jury simulation that would take place over an —> Read More