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When stress strikes, men turn into social butterflies

health and fitness Updated: May 23, 2012 00:32 IST

Highlight Story

It's often said that when stress strikes, women turn to their social ties for support and men become aggressive. But a new research has now found that these gender stereotypes don't always hold true.

In fact, stress-hit men are more likely to trust others, behave in a trustworthy manner and to share resources, researchers found.

"Apparently men also show social approach behaviour as a direct consequence of stress," study researcher Bernadette von Dawans of the University of Freiburg in Germany was quoted as saying by LiveScience.

For their study, published in the journal Psychological Science, the researchers recruited 67 male students from the University of Zurich to test their responses to stress.

About half of them were put under stress by speaking in public and by having to complete a tough mental-math test.

The other half mimicked those activities in a laid-back way, completing a stress-free and an easy task.

After being sufficiently stressed or unstressed, the participants played a series of trust and sharing games with real money at stake with another group of volunteers. The games involved making choices about how much to trust a partner and whether to share or hoard money.

Despite the stereotype of stressed-out men as aggressors, stress increased men's kind and gentle behaviour, the researchers found.