Are male and female personalities different in combination with characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character? Bill Cosby says, “Men and women belong to different species, and communication between them is still in its infancy” (Weisberg et al., 2022). He, like many others, believes that the gender differences between men and women are so significant that communication between genders may be complicated. While physical differences between the genders are clear, the question of psychological ones is far more complicated and contentious. There is usually a dispute about whether the causes are internal and biological or social and cultural – men and women are born differently, or culture shapes them differently. Some researchers are convinced that the differences are not significant or absent at all. Numerous examples from research and culture support this perspective of huge gender-connected personality distinctions (Hare-Mustin & Marecek, 2018). Men and women have different biological responsibilities, which leads to the fact that they vary mentally. Men’s and women’s personalities differ as women are warmer, friendlier, more anxious, and sensitive to their feelings, while men are more assertive and open to new ideas.
Traits as an Indicator of Personality Difference
To begin with, the fact that men and women exhibit differing amounts of certain traits confirms the presence of a distinction in personality. Traits are regular patterns of thoughts, feelings, motivations, and actions that a person exhibits in various contexts (Weisberg et al., 2022). Gender distinctions in personality characteristics are frequently defined by gender scores higher on average on each trait. A study by Weisberg et al. concludes that gender differences in personality traits are even more common than commonly reported. For each of the traits assessed, significant gender distinctions were found. Women assess their warmth, friendliness, anxiety, and sensitivity to their feelings more than men do (Weisberg et al., 2022). Men assess their assertiveness and receptivity to new ideas more than women do. Men scored better on one component of extraversion and another aspect of openness to experience, while women generally scored higher on agreeableness, neuroticism, and one aspect of openness to experience.
The Influence of The Environment on Gender Differences
One of the factors confirming the differences in personalities between men and women is the distinction in moral judgments. Regardless of the environment of personality formation, gender dissimilarities are observed in this contest. Atari et al. compared the moral judgments of men and women from 67 countries across cultures, religions, and parenting traditions and found that women consistently scored higher than men on Caring, Fairness, and Cleanliness. In contrast, gender discrepancies in Loyalty and Authority were not significant and varied across cultures (Atari et al., 2020). An interesting and unexpected finding is that gender differences in moral judgments are greater in individualistic, Western, and gender-equal societies (Atari et al., 2020). This proves that with more free choice and the possibility of forming a gender-neutral personality, distinctions remain.
Genetic Characteristics of Gender Affect Personality
The complex process of personality formation is also influenced by biological and environmental determinants. Sex hormones and genetic background influence the development of sexual differentiation, gender identity, and human personality. (Ristori et al., 2020). For example, in men who have higher plasma testosterone levels compared to women, it is associated with aggression, sexual behavior, and social status. Moreover, genetic effects may be sex-dependent, as polymorphisms in tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme in DA biosynthesis, are associated with novelty seeking in healthy males but not in females. Total basal cortisol output is positively associated with neuroticism in men, but in women, it is negatively associated with neuroticism. Thus, the personalities of men and women differ under the influence of different hormones.
The main counterargument that women and men are not different is that in many measures of personality, there are no differences. However, the absence of differences in some indicators is not a sufficient basis to assert their complete absence. In addition, the notion that humans are made up of only two types of beings, females, and males (gender binary), has profoundly shaped the history of psychological science (Hyde et al., 2019). The very existence of people whose personality does not belong to either men or women in themselves confirms the existence of these differences. Thus, to say that there are no differences between men’s and women’s personalities is wrong.
The statement that men and women belong to different species is an exaggeration, but there are significant differences. Men and women think, feel, make decisions, and behave differently, and their personalities differ, regardless of whether the primary causes for psychological gender differences are evolutionary or cultural. It is evidenced by differences in the main traits, an implicit measure of personality traits, independence of differences from the environment, and non-subjective assessment, such as preferences and brain response to humor. It is important to note that differences are not disadvantages, on the contrary, a gender-diverse society with different approaches and views develops more effectively because this makes it possible to look at the same problems from different angles and thus find the best solutions.
Atari, M., Lai, M. H., & Dehghani, M. (2020). Sex differences in moral judgements across 67 countries. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 287(1937). Web.
Hare-Mustin, R. T., & Marecek, J. (2018). Gender and the meaning of difference: Postmodernism and psychology. In A. C. Herrmann (Ed.), Theorizing feminism (pp. 78-109). Routledge.
Hyde, J. S., Bigler, R. S., Joel, D., Tate, C. C., & van Anders, S. M. (2019). The future of sex and gender in psychology: Five challenges to the gender binary. American Psychologist, 74(2), 171-193. Web.
Ristori, J., Cocchetti, C., Romani, A., Mazzoli, F., Vignozzi, L., Maggi, M., & Fisher, A. D. (2020). Brain sex differences related to gender identity development: Genes or hormones? International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(6), 2123. Web.
Weisberg, Y. J., DeYoung, C. G., & Hirsh, J. B. (2022). Gender differences in personality across the ten aspects of the Big Five. Frontiers in psychology, 2, 178. Web.