Women Are Perceived as Happy Whereas Men Are Seen as Angry

Humans have built in biases that perceive voices and faces as male when angry or as female if they are happy, according to researchers from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom.

What to know:

  • How we understand or interpret the emotional expression of a face or voice is heavily influenced by the sex we perceive that person to be.

  • Using 121 avatar faces and 121 human voices, researchers modified emotional expressions in degrees from happy to angry, and the sex on a sliding scale from male to female.

  • Faces and voices are more likely to be judged as male when they are angry, and as female when they are happy.

  • Both men and women subconsciously make the same mistakes with their emotional judgements, although women were slightly more sensitive to subtle changes in emotion overall.

  • Researchers believe the study is a caution as to the importance in not relying too much on your first impressions, as they can easily be wrong.

This is a summary of the article, “Women seen as happy and men as angry despite real emotions” published by the journal Emotion on April 5, 2022. The full article can be found on sciencedaily.com.

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