Men who expressed anger were more likely to influence their peers, found Arizona State University’s Jessica Salerno and Liana Peter-Hagene of University of Illinois in their study of computer-mediated mock jury proceedings.
In contrast, women who expressed anger were seen as less influential, reinforcing trends reported in a previous blog post.
More than 200 U.S. jury-eligible volunteers reviewed opening arguments and closing statements, eyewitness testimonies, crime scene photographs, and an image of the alleged weapon in a homicide.
Participants rendered individual verdict choices, then exchanged instant messages by computer, with “peers” who were said to be deliberating their verdict decisions.
In fact, “peer” messages were scripted, with four of the fictional jurors agreeing with the participant’s verdict, and one disagreeing.
The dissenting participant had a male user name or a female user name or a gender-neutral name.
Half of the dissenting messages contained no emotion, anger, or fear, and these communications had no influence on participants’ opinions.
However, participants’ confidence in their verdict decision significantly dropped when a single “male dissenter” sent angry messages, characterized by “shouting” in all capital letters.
Confidence in the verdict decision dropped even when the vote was shared by the majority of other “jurors,” suggesting the persuasive impact of a single male dissenter’s angry communication.
In contrast, volunteers became more confident in their initial verdict decisions when their vote was echoed by the majority of other participants.
This confidence was not diminished when a single female dissenter responded with angry emotional message, suggesting that “female” anger was less influential.
“Women’s” dissent seemed to reinforce conviction in the shared decision.
Male and female evaluators conferred lower status on angry female professionals compared with angry male professionals in research by Yale University’s Victoria Brescoll and Eric Luis Uhlmann, now of HEC Paris School of Management.
Evaluators assigned lower status to female CEOs and to female trainees when they expressed anger.
Men who expressed anger in a professional context were conferred higher status than men who expressed sadness.
Likewise, women who expressed anger and sadness were rated less effective than women who shared no emotion, according to Kristi Lewis Tyran of Western Washington University.
Evaluators judged men’s angry reactions more generously, attributing these emotional expressions to understandable external circumstances, such as having external pressure and demands.
These differing judgments of emotional expression suggest that women’s anger is more harshly evaluated because anger expressions deviate from women’s expected societal, gender, and cultural norms.
-*What impacts and consequences have you observed for women and men who express anger at work?
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