Men are less inclined to share negative news/information compared to women, with no significant gender difference observed in the sharing of positive news, said a recent study.
The study by Carnegie Mellon University, Bayes Business School (formerly Cass), and Bocconi University published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, suggests that men’s hesitancy to share negative experiences may stem from concerns about how others perceive them, leading to a tendency to self-promote with positive information while concealing negative aspects of their lives.
NEGATIVE NEWS; THE NUANCED GENDERED PATTERN
Dr. Erin Carbone, Visiting Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the lead author of the study, emphasizes the nuanced pattern uncovered in the research. Women tend to disclose more than men, but this inclination is strongly influenced by the nature of the information shared. These findings provide insights into gender-related differences in disclosure, challenging existing stereotypes.
SHARING IN THE DIGITAL AGE
The study’s significance extends to the digital era, as most prior research on gender differences in information sharing predates the internet. In a world where people routinely share on various digital platforms, this study offers valuable insights into the way we communicate and the ramifications of sharing in the age of technology.
THE RESEARCH METHOD
The research encompassed three experiments involving over 1,000 participants. In the first study, individuals self-reported instances when they felt compelled to share information with others and indicated whether they had actually shared it. Notably, while men and women reported a similar desire to share positive information (e.g., a job promotion), men were notably less likely to express a desire to share negative information (e.g., a promotion rejection). Subsequent experiments quantified the desire to disclose, combining participants’ willingness to share positive and negative information about various topics and experiences.
DISCLOSURE PATTERNS AND GENDER IMPACT
The study also uncovered that women expressed greater satisfaction with their level of disclosure compared to men. In contrast, male participants often exhibited a propensity to withhold information about their thoughts and emotions, even when sharing might have been beneficial. These gender-driven disclosure patterns have implications in the digital age, where information sharing is increasingly prevalent and permanent.
CONSEQUENCES OF INFORMATION SHARING
Professor Irene Scopelliti, Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Science at Bayes Business School and one of the study’s authors, highlights the significance of gender in the desire and propensity to disclose negative information. The digital age has witnessed an unprecedented surge in information sharing, driven by social media and digital communication channels. This study underscores the enduring role of gender in information sharing and its potential consequences for both men and women.