Sad or Mad? The Quality of Emotions
Imagine a situation where a person was gullible and believed some liar who was obviously exaggerating his own power and importance. If I saw a gullible woman, I'd be afraid and sad for her—afraid she'd be taken advantage of. But if I saw a gullible man, I'd be angry—angry that some man would fall into a situation like that. I'd feel ashamed of him, too.
—Steven, age 40
A gullible woman? I'd feel contemptuous and disgusted with her, also sorry for her. If it were a man, I'd feel really annoyed and irritated.
—Martha, age 42
It's time to turn from how men and women convey their feelings to an exploration of what they convey and to whom. The content of emotional expression contributes in powerful ways to interpersonal adaptation. For example, expressing anger versus sadness elicits predictable responses from other people and affects the future course that social relationships take.
In this chapter, I will be reviewing gender differences in particular feelings, such as loneliness and affection, summarizing across all modalities of emotional expression, including words, behaviors, physiological arousal, and facial and vocal expressions. However, most research has centered on either facial or verbal expressions. The reason for this is twofold. First, the complexities of exploring emotions expressed through the voice have perhaps discouraged researchers from venturing forth into this territory (see Chapter 3). Second, the patterns of physiological or behavioral change that accompany specific emotions are often inconsistent and unclear. For example, increased heart rate or behavioral withdrawal may accompany both fear and anger, two very different feelings.