Gender differences in emotion perception and self-reported emotional intelligence: A test of the emotion sensitivity hypothesis

Agneta H. Fischer, Mariska E. Kret, Joost Broekens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Previous meta-analyses and reviews on gender differences in emotion recognition have shown a small to moderate female advantage. However, inconsistent evidence from recent studies has raised questions regarding the implications of different methodologies, stimuli, and samples. In the present research based on a community sample of more than 5000 participants, we tested the emotional sensitivity hypothesis, stating that women are more sensitive to perceive subtle, i.e. low intense or ambiguous, emotion cues. In addition, we included a self-report emotional intelligence test in order to examine any discrepancy between self-perceptions and actual performance for both men and women. We used a wide range of stimuli and models, displaying six different emotions at two different intensity levels. In order to better tap sensitivity for subtle emotion cues, we did not use a forced choice format, but rather intensity measures of different emotions. We found no support for the emotional sensitivity account, as both genders rated the target emotions as similarly intense at both levels of stimulus intensity. Men, however, more strongly perceived non-target emotions to be present than women. In addition, we also found that the lower scores of men in self-reported EI was not related to their actual perception of target emotions, but it was to the perception of non-target emotions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0190712
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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