Men and women respond differently to the same level of stress, a new study has claimed. James Harnsberger and his team from the University of Florida, Gainesville, enrolled the study subjects from community or religious groups who were considered “committed”, that is, strongly affiliated with a group identity.
They were audio-visually recorded while coached by the researchers to vocalize both truthful and deceptive statements with the threat from them that the recordings would be shown to fellow community members for judgment.In some conditions, stress was also induced by the administration of electric shock at levels calibrated by the individual volunteer, while other stress responses were measured by pulse rate, skin conductance level, pulse rate, and two self-report scales of perceived discomfort.
The researchers found that the male and female subjects responded differently for the same level for stress, with men abiding by the “tough guy” response. “In male subjects, higher degrees of physiological arousal were under-reported – what you might call a ‘tough guy’ response,” James Harnsberger, the lead researcher, said.
“The results were a surprise. We had expected that higher stressors would prompt both increased physiological response and increased self-reported stress levels in all test subjects fairly uniformly for both men and women,” he added.