Challenging the Venus and Mars theory

Men and women may not be as different as previously thought when it comes to feeling emotion

“Do males and females react differently to emotional advertising?” begin the authors of an article in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. While it is commonly accepted that women are more emotional, no solid evidence exists to support this assertion. In fact, the results of the study conducted by Robert Fisher (University of Western Ontario) and Laurette Dubé (McGill University) indicate that when it comes to feeling emotion, men might be just as sensitive as females.

“Stereotypically, females are thought to be more ’emotional’ than males, and so conventional wisdom would suggest that females have more extreme responses to advertising with emotional content,” write Fisher and Dubé. “Previous research has not studied how the social desirability of emotions affects responses when ads are viewed in the presence of others.”

Fisher and Dubé explain, “This study sought to expose study participants to advertising while in the presence of other males versus while in private. Of particular interest is that when in private, males reported enjoying ads that were emotional and were related to “love, warmth, tenderness, and sentimentality.”

“It is perhaps ironic that although females are stereotypically more ’emotional’ than males, gender differences in private responses were not significant, and it was males who were sensitive to the expression of specific types of emotions in social environments.”

The authors note the profound implications of this research on how advertisers approach males with products. Now, in the absence of others–via the Internet, newspapers, or magazines–men might be tearing up and buying!

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Carrie Olivia Adams EurekAlert!

More Information:

http://www.uchicago.edu

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