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June 16, 2013

Genders affect Body Language Reading

According to a research conducted recently about ability of social reading, both men and women can interpret emotional body language with almost same speed and but with slightly different accuracy. Also, the polarity set of emotions they can pick much easier is different from each other.

Moreover, the different parts inside the brains of both men and women getting activated while interpreting or judging a social situation are not same. That's why they both interpret people, their body language and the expressions differently.

These findings clearly underline that there is a definite difference in both genders with respect to social reading (social visual cognition) and interpretation. Before moving to astonishing results of research, we to need get into fundamentals of gender roles.

Basically, what make both men and women to differ in reading and responding to body language of other people are their roles which are more conventional and more specifically - evolutionary or physiologically gifted, adapted and appreciated. Gender-specific physical features and physical processes make a large difference in how brain of both men and women requires to work.

Brain also needs to meet pre-defined goals decoded in our genes which we’re inheriting through thousands and millions of generations from remote history. In fact, many mental functions and abilities are linked with creatures from which our ancestors originally evolved.

Most ancestral males used to go out for searching, chasing and hunting wild animals for food. Their brains evolved to plan, follow and hunt down wild animals which gave them special abilities like strategizing, objective focusing, rational thinking, muscle priming and running. Many physical features and characteristics of males have evolved over millions of years to meet demands for performance.

Males also required finding, acquiring and defending territories for supply of resources to live upon so they also evolved with strategic skills and fortification. Also, they easily react to or go ahead to defend themselves or others in face of unfavorable situation or person. They try to resolve issues by physical prowess and dominance. In fact, masculinity is judged by achievements and victories.

Ancestral females used to consume, preserve and share food obtained from their male partners or other tribal members. Females also used to forage and cultivate food on their own. Also, their fundamental role as a mother (child bearer) and nurturer led them to be a good (verbal) communicator, diplomatic, expressive and emotionally attentive.

Women can effortlessly react to or easily come forward for helping somebody how’s expressing sadness or seeking help. They feel deeply connected with the person who seeks comfort and care. Because of dependability for acquiring resources and information about same, they can mingle with others and get subtle details much easier.

If our ancestors wouldn't have lived together, their brains would have evolved in an entirely different way for sure. To multiply opportunities of surviving and obtaining resources, our ancestors lived in small groups with members belonging to different genders and ages. Necessity of regular social interaction thus required mental adaptation eventually altered their neural wiring.

Both men and women learned to express, control and read emotions contextually i. e. kind of situation, risk factor & dynamics, potential consequences, survival benefit or loss, necessity of involvement and severity or scale of an outcome.

Genders: Two different mental skill sets required for survival

Women can detect overall emotional theme or bottom-line of situation under interpretation i. e. they are more subjective. Also, women resonate emotionally to persons in social situation. Even if they could not defend somebody as easily as men, they try to seek protection for persons who require it. Men show less sensitivity towards other’s emotions or theme of an overall situation i. e. they are more objectively focused.

Men can interpret each and every detail but largely in isolation. That’s why they need training to be a good social or body language interpreter by combining different clues people give away. Women need to learn technique of psychological isolation from situation or person like the way men do easily.

As traditionally considered and also still largely demanded, women would remain substantially sensitivity to positive mental states like happiness, joy, accomplishment, satisfaction etc. On the other hand, men would easily pick the survival and action related negative mental states like anger, aggressiveness, competitiveness, rivalry etc.

According to the classical responsibilities, women’s ability to look out for the positive emotional responses especially given by the men in their relationship might be deeply rooted into the basic necessity of obtaining and preserving resources to nourish themselves, their children and their families.

On the contrary, men's ability to look for the negative emotional responses might be deeply rooted into the basic necessity of acting upon any sign of danger from the other men. Men protecting women, children and other members might have got upper hand in their groups by averting possible dangers originated from the people expressing negative emotions.

Three different kinds of emotional stimulus

Accordingly to a latest research, the classical wisdom (gender specific social cognition) got challenged because of contradictory results. Three different motion sequences of knocking on door by point light fitted (invisible) actor were shown to subjects. Each sequence was related to happy, neutral and angry mental state - actor was asked to express them through body movements.

Women could pick negative and neutral mental state much easier and faster. For women, ability to identify emotions in bodily actions helped to pick naturalness much easier. On the other hand, men could surpass in interpretation of happy mental state of actor with greater accuracy. What would have led to results that contradict with conventional or social assumptions of gender-specific body language interpretation skills?

Major reasons might be shifting or switching of gender specific social roles and responsibilities. As long as a member belonging to specific gender needs to or is constantly challenged to perform or act in traditional ways, its mental abilities would remain active as presumed.

However, change in role, responsibilities and demands for performance could lead to dampening and alteration of intellectual, emotional and physical abilities and skills that are generally inherited over a thousands of generations while staying in the same environment.

Did shift in role lead to altering of emotional recognition?

Is this the reason why we see that (independently) working women became less sensitive towards an availability of resources whereas men looking after children (and competing with women professionally) becoming more sensitive towards resources and (emotional) attachment?

An in-depth research needs to be conducted for same which could also reveal the secrets gender dynamics of social and emotional interpretation with broader details. Even it could shed light on altered ability to read micro-expressions.

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