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    “Be a Man”: The Role of Social Pressure in Eliciting Men’s Aggressive Cognition

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    Summary: Some men respond aggressively when their manhood is threatened, but not all men act the same, specially the younger men whose sense of masculinity depends heavily on other people’s opinions may be most triggered by such threats.

    Source: Duke University.

    New research from Duke University suggests that specially the younger men whose sense of masculinity depends heavily on other people’s opinions may be most triggered by such threats. When those men are made to feel that they are not living up to strict gender norms, they may feel the need to behave aggressively to prove their manhood.

    The researchers worked on two studies in which they considered 195 undergraduate students and a random pool of 391 men aged from 18 to 56.

    Study participants were examined with a quiz consisting a series of questions about “gender knowledge.” Questions were asked from stereotypical topics such as sports, auto mechanics and home repair. After they answered, the participants were haphazardly told their score was either higher or lower than that of an average person of their gender.

    To affect real-world threats to manhood, men who received a low score were also made to feel fragile about their masculinity. They were told that they are “less manly than the average man.”

    Men whose sense of masculinity came from within seemed unfazed by receiving a low score. While men with a more weaker sense of masculinity, whose feelings of masculinity depended on others opinion, behaved differently.

    The youngest study participants, men between 18 and 29 years old responded with strongest aggressive behaviour. The response was milder among middle-aged men between ages 30 and 37, and the aggressive behaviour was mildest among the oldest group of participants, men aged 38 years old and older.

    Men’s violence, terrorism, violence against women, political aggression and many of such behaviours can be explained by this study on fragile masculinity.



    Published: Duke University.

    Contact: Adam Stanaland, PhD Candidate at Duke University Graduate School.

    Details: Image source Unsplash

     

    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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