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Sex Differences in Everyday Risk-Taking Behavior in Humans


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Sexual selection theory predicts that males will tend to behave in ways that are more risky than females. We explored this in humans by studying two everyday situations (catching a bus and crossing a busy road). We show that humans are competent optimizers on such tasks, adjusting their arrival times at a bus stop so as to minimize waiting time. Nonetheless, single males pursue a more risky strategy than single females by cutting waiting times much finer. Males are also more likely than females to cross busy roads when it is risky to do so. More importantly, males are more likely to initiate a crossing in high risk conditions when there are females present in the immediate vicinity, but females do not show a comparable effect in relation to the number of males present. These results support the suggestion that risk-taking is a form of "showing off" used as mate advertisement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Evolutionary Psychology – 2008.6(1): 29-42
Original Article
Sex Differences in Everyday Risk-Taking Behavior in Humans
B. Pawlowski, Department of Anthropology, University of Wroclaw, ul. Kużnicza 35, 50-138, Wroclaw,
Poland & Institute of Anthropology, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Kużnicza 35, 50-138, Wroclaw, Poland.
Rajinder Atwal, School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZB, United
R.I.M. Dunbar, Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, 51 Banbury Road,
Oxford OX2 3PE. Email: (Corresponding author)
Abstract: Sexual selection theory predicts that males will tend to behave in ways that are
more risky than females. We explored this in humans by studying two everyday situations
(catching a bus and crossing a busy road). We show that humans are competent optimizers
on such tasks, adjusting their arrival times at a bus stop so as to minimize waiting time.
Nonetheless, single males pursue a more risky strategy than single females by cutting
waiting times much finer. Males are also more likely than females to cross busy roads
when it is risky to do so. More importantly, males are more likely to initiate a crossing in
high risk conditions when there are females present in the immediate vicinity, but females
do not show a comparable effect in relation to the number of males present. These results
support the suggestion that risk-taking is a form of “showing off” used as mate
Keywords: risk, sex differences, optimization, behavioral decisions, road-crossing
Evolutionary theory predicts that, in polygamously mating species, young males
will be more willing to take risks in an effort to breed successfully than young females.
This is most conspicuous in lekking species, where males may exhibit bright plumage or
conspicuous displays that make them more susceptible to predation than is the case for
females. In species like humans where risk-taking may itself become a form of display, this
sex difference may be exaggerated and risk-taking may characterize many aspects of
behavior. Many studies have noted that young human males are more prone than females to
take risks in relation to conflict (Campbell, 1999; Daly and Wilson, 1988; Wilson and
Daly, 1993,) and sexual behavior (Clift, Wilkins, and Davidson, 1993; Poppen 1995), as
Sex differences in risk-taking
well as in such situations as car driving (Chen, Baker, Braver, and Li, 2000; Flisher,
Ziervogel, Charlton, Leger, and Roberston, 1993; Harre, Field, and Kirkwood, 1996),
accident risk (Fetchenhauer and Rohde, 2002), drug-taking (Tyler and Lichtenstein, 1997),
gambling and financial decisions (Bruce and Johnson, 1994, Powell and Ansic, 1997) and
outdoor activities (Howland, Hingson, Mangione, and Bell, 1996, Wilson, Daly, Gordon,
and Pratt, 1996). Indeed, psychological studies have found that females find risky
situations more stressful than males do (Kerr and Vlaminkx, 1997). In this context, risk-
taking by males may be a form of mating display (Hawkes, 1990, 1991).
Most of these studies of humans focus on situations that, in one degree or another,
are life-threatening (or which may have serious consequences for subsequent health and
wealth). In this paper, we report results showing that sex differences in risk-taking occur
even in simple everyday situations that do not necessarily incur significant risks. We
consider two examples: catching a bus and crossing a road.
We use these data to explore two separate issues. The first offers us the opportunity
to examine the trade-offs between the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action:
individuals can either arrive early (but thereby incur a cost because they have to wait in the
cold: playing safe) or they can arrive closer to departure time (but at the risk that the bus
may already have left by the time they arrive at the bus stop: risky strategy). The riskiness
of the latter option is created by the fact that buses often leave before their official
departure times (especially if the bus has already filled to capacity). The second study
allows us to explore more directly the possibility that risk-taking may be a form of male
mating display (sensu Hawkes, 1991).
The observations for the first study were carried out at a single bus stop which
students habitually use to get to the University of Liverpool campus (about 2.5km distant).
Most of the housing in the immediate area of the bus stop is student accommodation. A bus
to the university campus specifically provided for students starts its journey at this bus stop.
The bus usually arrives up to 12 minutes before its official departure time and waits at the
stop. All the observations were carried out on the bus that was officially timed to depart at
0940 a.m.: departure times were, however, randomly distributed around the official
departure time. Figure 1 gives the cumulative frequency distribution for all bus departure
times, relative to the official departure time of 0940 hrs. For convenience, all times have
been converted to the number of minutes before the official bus departure time. The data
are given as the proportion of all buses (n = 32) that departed up to and including the
minute shown.
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Sex differences in risk-taking
Figure 1. Cumulative probability distribution of actual bus departures times (n = 32 days).
The vertical line marks the official bus departure time. The X-axis is scaled as the number
of minutes prior to the official departure time of the bus.
Minutes Prior to Official Departure Time
Cumulative Probability
The arrival times of individual males and females and the subsequent bus departure
times were noted on 32 mornings over a four-month period during the winter months.
However, only those days on which the bus left at the appointed time (or later) were
included in the analyses of risk-taking behavior in order to be sure that all arrivals up to and
including the minute at which the bus should have gone could be counted. This yielded a
sample of 20 mornings. On two of these, the bus left later than the appointed time, but only
arrivals up to and including the official departure time were counted for analysis. The
arrival times of 475 females and 524 males were recorded in the samples for the 20 days
used in the analysis.
The second study was carried out at a busy road crossing in the middle of the
University campus over the midday period. The crossing point was provided with a light-
controlled pedestrian crossing. Individual subjects were selected as they approached the
crossing and the following variables recorded: sex and approximate age (by decade) of
subject, risk state of road on approach, whether the subject crossed or waited, risk state of
the road when the subject crossed, whether the subject was a leader or a follower when
he/she crossed, number and sexes of all individuals on the subject’s side of the crossing
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Sex differences in risk-taking
point at the moment he/she crossed. Over a three month period, a total of 500 males and
500 females were sampled in this way. The risk state of the road was defined in terms of
the risk of being hit by a vehicle when crossing at that moment (see Table 1).
Table 1. Risk state of the road crossing.
Risk State Definition
No risk Traffic stationary at traffic signal; safe to cross
Low risk Traffic can approach, but no vehicles within 50m
Risky Vehicle approaching (within 50m) but not at crossing
High risk Vehicles passing through the crossing
Optimizing bus waiting time
The bus departure times given in Figure 1 can be used to calculate the mean delay
to the next bus at each minute, noting that individuals who miss the bus at time 0 minutes
have to wait on average a further 14.12 minutes for the next student bus. (This is calculated
as the weighted delay to the departure of the next bus, given that the official departure time
is 15 minutes after the first, but with a probability density function for departure times
similar to that shown in Figure 1.) The results are shown in Figure 2. The minimum delay
occurs at minute 5, and this represents the optimal arrival time that trades off time spent
waiting in the cold by arriving early against the risk of missing the bus.
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Sex differences in risk-taking
Figure 2. Predicted waiting time for individuals arriving at indicated times prior to the
official departure time of the bus, estimated from the actual departure times given in Figure
Females were more likely to arrive in groups than were males (42.0% vs. 28.6%,
2 = 19.71, df = 1, p < 0.001). Therefore, to avoid confounds due to social
factors and pseudoreplication when individuals arrive in groups, we separate out
individuals who arrive alone from those who arrive in groups. Figure 3 gives the mean
minutes prior to departure at which males and females in different group types arrived.
Males arriving alone did so significantly later than females arriving alone (mean arrival
times: 4.22 ± 0.133SE vs. 4.98 ± 0.176SE minutes prior to departure, respectively;
Kolmogorov-Smirnov test: Z = 1.609, n = 375,275, p = 0.011). Note that the mean arrival
time for females (4.98 minutes prior to departure) is almost exactly the optimal arrival time
identified in Figure 2 (five minutes). Since there is considerable variance in the data, we
divided arrival times into three blocks differing in riskiness: minutes 12-6 (cautious
period), minutes 5-4 (optimal period) and minutes 3-0 (risky period). Females arriving
alone (i.e. those whose arrival times are not influenced by others) were significantly more
likely to arrive during the cautious period, whereas males arriving alone were more likely
to arrive during the risky period (
2 = 10.75, df = 2, p = 0.001). These results stand even
when days are considered as the unit of analysis (for subjects arriving alone, medians of
43.7% of males vs. 28.2% of females arrived during the risky period: Wilcoxon matched
pairs test, n = 20 days, p = 0.033 2-tailed).
When individuals arrived on their own, males did so significantly later than females
(i.e. they cut the waiting time to a minimum). However, when they arrived in single sex
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Sex differences in risk-taking
groups, males were more likely to arrive earlier than females (though not significantly so:
means of 5.55±0.303SE vs. 4.58±0.230SE; Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, n = 86 and 138, p
= 0.157). A likely explanation for this is that these males were actually late for the
previous bus: this suggestion is reinforced by the fact that female arrival times do not vary
significantly across group type (Kruskal Wallis χ2 = 1.92, n = 424, df = 3, p = 0.589),
whereas those for males do (Kruskal Wallis χ2 = 17.38, n = 446, df = 3, p = 0.001).
Moreover, when males accompanied females in couples, their arrival times were the same
as those for single females (Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z = 0.614, n = 43,275, p = 0.846), but
significantly different from (and later than) those for single males (Z = 2.382, n = 43,375, p
= 0.044), suggesting that male behaviour was being driven by that of the females.
Figure 3. Mean ± SE of number of minutes prior to the departure of the next bus that males
(solid symbols) and females (open symbols) arrived at the bus stop in groups of different
Alone Single-sex
group Couples Mixed-sex
Mean +- 1 SE minutes
Figure 4 shows the frequencies with which males and females crossed the road at
different risk states. Males are significantly more likely to cross the road at higher risk
states than females (χ2 = 32.56, df = 3, p < 0.001). This is reinforced by a comparison of
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Sex differences in risk-taking
sex differences in the riskiness at road crossing for individuals who approached the road
when it was on the highest risk state (vehicles on the crossing): males arriving at this risk
state crossed at significantly more risky states than females did (χ2 = 52.27, df = 3, p < <
Figure 4. Frequencies with which males and females crossed the road at different risk
No risk Low risk Risky High risk
Probability of Crossing
In a significant number of instances, the subject arrived at the crossing when a
vehicle was approaching or on the crossing (high risk states). In these cases, subjects either
crossed or waited until the risk state of the crossing was reduced. Figure 5 plots the
probability of crossing for the two sexes in relation to the risk state of the road at the
moment of arrival. Overall, males are less likely to wait than females (χ2 = 19.02, df = 1, p
< 0.001), and this difference was true at each risk state except the lowest (no risk: χ2 = 2.49,
df = 1, p > 0.05).
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Sex differences in risk-taking
Figure 5. Relative frequency with which males and females would wait rather than cross in
relation to the risk state of the road on their arrival at the crossing.
No risk Low risk Risky High Risk
Probability of Crossing
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Sex differences in risk-taking
Overall, males were more likely to act as leaders (initiators of a crossing) than were
females (Figure 6: χ2 = 12.15, df = 1, p < 0.001). This was true at all risk levels except very
risky, where, paradoxically, females were more likely to lead than follow compared to
males. However, males were three times more likely to cross in the highest risk category
than females were (90 vs. 33 occasions) and, in absolute terms, were twice as likely to be
leaders (50 vs. 24 occasions).
Figure 6. Probability that males and females act as leaders (initiate a crossing) in relation
to the risk state of the road on crossing.
No risk Low risk Risky High risk
Probability of Leading
To examine spectator effects on risk-taking, we analyzed the risk at crossing in
relation to the number of males and females on the subject’s side of the road at the moment
of crossing for those occasions when the subject was a leader (i.e. initiated a crossing).
Table 2 gives the resulting analyses of variance, with risk state at crossing as the dependent
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Sex differences in risk-taking
variable. The number of females present (but not the number of males) has a significant
effect on the male’s crossing pattern, but females show only a weak (non-significant) effect
due to the number of males present. Figure 7 plots these data in the form of the probability
of initiating a crossing (i.e., acting as “leader”) as a function of the number of members of
the opposite sex present for high and low risk states at crossing. While the probability of
crossing typically declines as audience size increases for both sexes, it remains high for
males in the high risk condition, suggesting a greater willingness to take risks when there
are females present to display to.
Table 2. ANOVA for risk state at crossing for each sex in relation to numbers of males
and females present at the time.
Variable F df p
(a) Males
Number of males 1.24 13,406 0.251
Number of females 1.78 14,406 0.039
Males x females 1.11 66,406 0.271
(b) Females
Number of males 1.69 13,413 0.060
Number of females 0.54 12,413 0.891
Males x females 1.32 60,413 0.065
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Sex differences in risk-taking
Figure 7. Probability with which males and females initiated a road crossing (i.e. were
leaders) in relation to risk state and the number of members of the opposite sex who were
waiting on their side of the road. Low risk states are “no risk” and “slight risk;” high risk
states are “risky” and “very risky”.
Low risk High risk Low risk High risk
Males Males Females Females
Probability of Crossing
1 or 2
We have shown that males are more likely to take risks than females, even in
everyday situations that are relatively unlikely to incur life-threatening costs. This suggests
that risk-taking is a pervasive feature of human male psychology. In addition, we have
shown that males’ risk-proneness even at this level is related to the presence of females in
the immediate vicinity. We infer from this that male risk-taking is a form of mating display
(sensu Hawkes, 1990), comparable to other forms of mate advertising peculiar to modern
humans (e.g. display of mobile phones: Lycett and Dunbar, 2000). In this case, risk-taking
is assumed to reflect something about gene quality rather than the resources a male has to
Even though both sexes seemed to be quite efficient at optimizing their arrival times
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Sex differences in risk-taking
at a bus stop so as to trade off the risk of missing the bus against waiting time, males and
females appear to differ in their willingness to pursue risky strategies in this context. Males
are more likely to cut their arrival times fine (and sometimes miss the bus as a result,
thereby incurring longer waiting times than they need have done in cold winter
temperatures, as well as being late for a class). An alternative explanation for these results
might be that human females are more resistant to cold and are therefore more willing to
spend longer in cool temperatures by arriving early. However, sex differences in
subcutaneous fat volume might be expected to have exactly the opposite effect: the issue is
not how long you spend waiting for a particular bus but the risk of having to wait for the
next bus because you arrived after your target bus had left. With their lower subcutaneous
fat volumes, males ought to be more risk-averse than females because they would bear
more significant costs from heat-loss if they missed the bus. In contrast, heat-loss cannot
possibly be an explanation for the sex differences in road-crossing behavior, yet similar
sex-biases in risk-taking emerge from this study. This suggests that the sex differences
observed in the bus study are genuine differences in risk-sensitivity.
It is worth pointing out here that, in evaluating the optimal arrival time in the bus
study, we considered only the expected waiting time. Part of the costs of waiting lie in the
rate of heat loss when exposed to low ambient temperatures. While we treated this as more
or less constant (and modest), a change in local climatic conditions can be expected to have
a significant impact on the optimal arrival time. As ambient temperatures fall, so the cost
of waiting increases and the optimal arrival time can be expected to drift towards the
official bus departure time (minute 0) and the payoff function (as shown in Figure 2) will
become more strongly peaked. Conversely, as temperatures rise, so the constraints on
waiting time will weaken and the payoff function should become flatter. We should thus
expect to see differences both between locations and, within locations, between seasons and
days in both the shape of the payoff function and the consequent behavior of individuals.
The difference in risk-taking behavior might be the result of either of two rather
different effects. One is that males are more prone to risk-taking as a form of display and
merely implement it under all conditions; the other is that males are more reluctant to waste
time on inessential activities (such as waiting at a bus stop). For females, such an activity
may have additional functional benefits in terms of social interaction (e.g. servicing social
relationships). Because males may be less social than females, waiting around at bus stops
may be less advantageous for them. Some support for this second interpretation is given by
the suggestion that males were less social than females in our sample: they were more
likely than females to arrive at the bus stop alone rather than in groups. In either case, we
interpret these proximate functional considerations as being derivative of differences
between the sexes in long term reproductive strategies.
However, perhaps the strongest evidence in support of a generic advertising
hypothesis is the fact that risk-taking by males during road-crossings is directly affected by
the presence of female (but not male) spectators, whereas the female’s behavior is only
marginally (and non-significantly) influenced by the presence of males. Indeed, females are
more likely to act as followers than leaders in these situations. These observations make it
much less likely that it is social factors that are driving the sex differences in risk-taking
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Sex differences in risk-taking
Groups clearly impose constraints on the behavior of individuals, since the stability
of a group through space and time depends on its members compromising on their
preferred options. Males in mixed sex groups seem to give way to females’ demands as far
as arrival time is concerned, and are thus more likely to optimize arrival time than lone
males (itself a suggestion that mate-searching tactics may be more important than purely
social considerations). In contrast, the apparently optimal behavior of males in single-sex
groups (at least compared to single males) is probably an artifact: the arrival times for
males in single-sex groups are clearly bimodal, with peaks at three minutes and eight
minutes before departure. No less than a third of males in groups arrived nearer to the
departure time of the previous bus (i.e. more than seven minutes before the bus’s official
departure time). One explanation might be that males in single sex groups in fact behave
like single males, except that grouping has the effect of slowing them down in order to
accommodate the slowest member, such that they are more likely to miss the bus. These
individuals thus appear in our data as early arrivals when they are in fact late-comers. This
is reflected in the fact that the minute eight peak is much higher in single sex group males
than it is for single males (where the minute three and minute one peaks are higher). In
contrast, males in mixed-sex groups behave very differently: reproductive and mate choice
considerations seem to dictate that males fall into line with female behavioral patterns in
these groups.
Whatever the proximate reasons for the behavior patterns shown by males might be
(e.g. the desire to spend longer in bed, a dislike of waiting around), the fact is that their
behavior is shifted into a more risky part of the state space relative to that for females.
Although they did not consider sex differences as such, Hoffrage, Weber, Hertwig, and
Chase, (2003) have shown, at least for children, that risk-taking does seem to generalize
across contexts: children who were more prone to taking risks when crossing roads were
also more prone to taking risks in gambling games. Sexual selection theory would suggest
that this is a consequence of males’ behavior being driven more strongly by the demands of
mating tactics than that of females.
Acknowledgements: BP was supported by a Royal Society NATO Postdoctoral
Fellowship for Partner Countries.
Received 15 August 2007; Revision submitted 4 January 2008; Accepted 4 January
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... Injury severity and need for hospital admission was higher in Table 3 Measures of pre-injury health status according to road user type 1 1 n = 1,480 total eligible participants; values are n (column %) or mean (SD) 2 P-value obtained from chi-square test (or Fisher's exact test) for categorical variables and ANOVA test for continuous variables 3 Overlapping categories where some participants identify with more than one category; therefore, the sum of reported percentages exceed 100% and chi-square tests were performed for each category separately (i.e., diabetes vs. no diabetes across road user type) 4 EQ-VAS serves as a measure of health-related quality of life ranking overall health the day before the accident from 0 to 100 5 The SF-12 questionnaire assesses health-related quality of life 4 weeks prior to the accident. Questionnaire items can be grouped to compute physical and mental component scores which are standardized based on 1998 U.S. population norms, where higher scores suggest better health 6 Questionnaire scores standardized based on the proportion of total question items answered 7 The PCS questionnaire assesses the level of pain catastrophizing and coping experienced by the individual, where a higher score suggests a greater level of catastrophizing 8 The PHQ-15 assesses a variety of somatic symptoms and the degree to which they bother the individual; higher scores suggest a greater level of symptom severity 9 The PHQ-4 specifically assesses pre-event anxiety and depression, determined based on how often certain problems are experienced by the individual; higher scores suggest greater levels of psychological distress males, possibly due to increased risk-taking and higher probability of being involved in high-speed collisions [61]. Injury severity also varied according to road user type, with higher injury severity and need for hospital admission among pedestrians and motorcyclists. ...
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Background: Road trauma is a major public health concern, often resulting in reduced health-related quality of life and prolonged absenteeism from work even after so-called 'minor' injuries that do not result in hospitalization. This manuscript compares pre-injury health, sociodemographic characteristics and injury details between age, sex, and road user categories in a cohort of 1,480 road trauma survivors. Methods: This was a prospective observational inception cohort study of road trauma survivors recruited between July 2018 and March 2020 from three trauma centres in British Columbia, Canada. Participants were aged ≥ 16 years and arrived in a participating emergency department within 24 h of involvement in a motor vehicle collision. Data were collected from structured interviews and review of medical records. Results: The cohort of 1,480 road trauma survivors included 280 pedestrians, 174 cyclists, 118 motorcyclists, 683 motor vehicle drivers, and 225 passengers. Median age was 40 (IQR = [27, 57]) years; 680 (46%) were female. Males and younger patients were significantly more likely to report better pre-injury physical health. Motorcyclists and cyclists tended to report better physical health and less severe somatic symptoms, whereas pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers reported better mental health. Injury severity and hospital admission rates were higher in pedestrians and motorcyclists and lower in motorists. Upper and lower extremity injuries were most common in pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, whereas neck injuries were most common in motor vehicle drivers and passengers. Conclusions: In a large cohort of road trauma survivors, overall injury severity was low. Motorcyclists and pedestrians, but not cyclists, had more severe injuries than motorists. Extremity injuries were more common in vulnerable road users. Future research will investigate one-year recovery outcomes and identify risk factors for poor recovery.
... In addition to the above, and despite older students showing a greater inclination to disobedience, girls with more educated parents showed the opposite. According to Pawlowski et al. (2008), men are more prone to take risks than women, which could be related to their higher tendency to disobedience. Similarly, the higher educational level of parents leads to a lower attitude towards corrupt practices. ...
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Studies that cover civic engagement in adolescents approach its understanding from the cognitive domain of civics and citizenship. However, it is crucial to also pay special attention to the adolescents’ affective-behavioural domain regarding political and social issues and how they could affect their civic engagement in adulthood, particularly in complex contexts with emerging and challenging fragile democracies such as Peru. Concerning this, we propose a model about adolescents’ attitudes toward relevant societal issues as predictors of their expected conventional political participation, an approach to future civic engagement. We applied a multilevel path analysis based on data from 5,166 Peruvian 8th-grade students (Mage = 14.03; SD = .88) participating in the 2016 International Civic and Citizenship Education Study. Our results showed that agreed attitudes toward equal rights of men and women, ethnic/racial groups, homosexuals, and trust in civic institutions positively predict expected electoral participation, but agreed attitudes toward corrupt practices in government turn out to be a negative predictor. Likewise, agreed with attitudes toward equal rights of ethnic/racial groups, disobedience to law, authoritarianism and corruption in government, and trust in civic institutions positively predict expected active political participation; however, agreed attitudes toward equal rights of men and women are a negative predictor. Promoting the exercise of civic attitudes would help to follow fewer passive roles and thus tend towards active political participation, which, in addition, would be seen not only as a space to obtain benefits but also to develop citizenship genuinely committed to democracy.
... Observational studies also suggest civic and prosocial outcomes in genderdiverse circumstances, broadly conceived, including aspects of rule-following, egalitarianism, and social responsibility. For example, men engage in less jaywalking across busy streets when walking with a woman, compared to when walking with men or alone (Pawlowski, Atwal, and Dunbar 2008). Male CEOs with firstborn daughters pay employees more (Dahl, Dezső, and Ross 2012). ...
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Research suggests that interacting with women may encourage civic and prosocial attitudes, yet findings to date have been limited to democracies notable for their egalitarian norms. Using simulated contact experiments under controlled conditions, this article tests hypotheses for the first time in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, arguably “hard cases” given persistent norms of patriarchy and gender segregation. Yet, despite stronger contexts for male dominance, results suggest that interacting with women may indeed steer Saudi and Kuwaiti men toward more civic and other-regarding orientations, including aspects of tolerance, egalitarianism, openness, and community rule-following. These findings add much-needed comparative perspective to experimental research on mixed-gender dynamics and align with broader work highlighting the benefits of diverse interactions for groups and nations.
... Academic misconduct research typically finds higher rates of plagiarism and cheating among male than female students (e.g., Ward & Beck, 1990). Evolutionary psychology theory proposes that males will undertake more risky behavior than females (e.g., Pawlowski et al., 2008), and the risk of being sanctioned makes academic misconduct a risky behavior. Moreover, evolutionary psychology predicts, and studies observe, more dishonesty among men than women, particularly in competitive situations (Kennedy & Kray, 2022). ...
Home Handbook of Academic Integrity Living reference work entry Academic Integrity Scholarship: The Importance of Theory Guy J. Curtis & Joseph Clare Living reference work entry First Online: 16 June 2023 Abstract Descriptive and observational research on academic integrity serves to provide the field with a lay of the land. However, to form an integrated understanding and make hypotheses about the future, theory is required. Academic integrity research has drawn on theories from many academic disciplinary perspectives, representing the nature of academic integrity questions and the disciplinary backgrounds of researchers. In addition, researching applied problems in the field of academic integrity can inform the development of theories in other academic disciplines. Theory-driven and theory-informed research in academic integrity has come a long way and potentially has a long way to go. This chapter reviews some of the theoretical perspectives applied to academic integrity, particularly from psychology and criminology, and considers other well-established theories that can inform future research in academic integrity.
... As for gender, women in our study had better adherence towards protective health policies than men. This could be due to gender stereotypes [57] and the fact that women take fewer risks than men [58]. Finally, a strong determinant for adopting frequent COVID-19 protective behaviors in our study was education. ...
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Confinement measures at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic imposed major changes on the global population. The aim of this study was to explore the level to which the public adhered to protective guidelines by adopting the most appropriate behaviors at that time (such as hand washing with soap and using sanitizer gel) and to identify the determinants of these behaviors. A purposive sample of 1013 individuals was invited and voluntarily participated in the online survey. The questionnaire collected information on demographic data, hand washing, risk perception, anxiety (through the S = Anxiety scale of STAI) and risky-choice framing. Results showed increased levels of anxiety, a moderate perception of the risk of catching coronavirus and increased adoption of protective behaviors, such as handwashing and cleaning surfaces with disinfectant/antiseptic products. Multiple ordinal logistic regression models showed that being female, more educated and cleaning home with disinfectant / antiseptic products predicted handwashing with soap. Additionally, having an increased perception of getting the coronavirus, being older and cleaning the home with disinfectant / antiseptic products predicted handwashing with antiseptics. Public health interventions should take into consideration the unified cleaning pattern and the combined effect of sociodemographic variables and risk perception on the adoption of protective behaviour in the context of a health crisis which is out of people's control.
... In rhesus monkeys, females perform better in a spatial delayed-response task [73], while young female chimpanzees exhibit thermite fishing behaviour earlier than males [74]. Notably, conflicting reports on sex-divergent behaviours can also be found in humans, with some studies pointing to significant sex effects [75][76][77], where others fail to show any significant differences between sexes [78]. Therefore, generalizations of sex-dependent findings across species should be carefully examined and limited to paradigms that can be applied in the same manner across species. ...
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Delay eyeblink conditioning has been extensively used to study associative learning and the cerebellar circuits underlying this task have been largely identified. However, there is a little knowledge on how factors such as strain, sex and innate behaviour influence performance during this type of learning. In this study, we used male and female mice of C57BL/6J (B6) and B6CBAF1 strains to investigate the effect of sex, strain and locomotion in delay eyeblink conditioning. We performed a short and a long delay eyeblink conditioning paradigm and used a c-Fos immunostaining approach to explore the involvement of different brain areas in this task. We found that both B6 and B6CBAF1 females reach higher learning scores compared to males in the initial stages of learning. This sex-dependent difference was no longer present as the learning progressed. Moreover, we found a strong positive correlation between learning scores and voluntary locomotion irrespective of the training duration. c-Fos immunostainings after the short paradigm showed positive correlations between c-Fos expression and learning scores in the cerebellar cortex and brainstem, as well as previously unreported areas. By contrast, after the long paradigm, c-Fos expression was only significantly elevated in the brainstem. Taken together, we show that differences in voluntary locomotion and activity across brain areas correlate with performance in delay eyeblink conditioning across strains and sexes.
... Such risky behaviors were seen to be related to gender, education, and occupation in the present study. As suggested by findings of published studies on the age and gender patterns of risky behaviors [59][60][61], men and late adolescents are more likely to engage in such conduct. In line with these findings, a significant association between being male and being involved in potentially dangerous practices regarding COVID-19 was shown in the present study. ...
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Days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that COVID-19 was a pandemic, Saudi Arabia took preventative and precautionary measures to avoid its spread and to safeguard its citizens. In this study, we investigated the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) of both men and women toward COVID-19 as well as associated factors. A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online, self-report questionnaire distributed via Google Forms. The overall percentage of correct answers for the knowledge statements was 80.2%, with a higher rate among the female respondents (82.4% vs. 78.5%, p = 0.005). Slightly more than half (i.e., 165: 51.6%) of the participants showed that they did not go to crowded places during the pandemic; however, more female respondents recorded that they avoided crowded places than male respondents (57.7% vs. 46.2%, p = 0.04). Most participants (i.e., 272: 85.0%) reported that they had worn a mask in recent days, and more than two-thirds (84.4%) said that they still follow the strategies recommended by government authorities to prevent the spread of the virus. Again, more female respondents reported this than males (89.9% vs. 79.5%; p = 0.01). Significant correlations (p < 001) were noted between knowledge and practices (r = 0.31), knowledge and attitudes (r = 0.37), and attitudes and practices (r = 0.29). In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, occupation and education were independently associated with knowledge among both the male and female respondents (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.2–7.2; aOR: 5.9; 95% CI: 2.2–15.9). Residence was independently associated with attitudes, but only among the male respondents (aOR: 2.3; 95% CI: 1.1–4.9), and COVID-19 was independently associated with practices among both the male and female respondents (aOR: 4.5; 95% CI: 1.4–14.2; aOR: 9.8; 95% CI: 1.2–81.2). There were significant gender differences in both knowledge and practices toward COVID-19, with the female respondents achieving better scores than the male respondents. Thus, we recommend that health education campaigns are tailored to specifically target males.
... This disparity could be driven by the fact that women take less risks and may practice safer traffic behaviors [46]. For example, a previous study examined the road crossing behavior of both males (N = 500) and females (N = 500) at intersections during a high-risk situation where a vehicle was approaching; the study found that men were three times as likely to cross the street during this high-risk situation compared to females [47]. This fact may explain why women were less likely than males to be hit on rural or curved roads; females may have perceived these conditions as riskier and chose not to walk there. ...
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Fatal, pedestrian-involved, motor vehicle collisions are increasing in the United States yet remain lower in rural states such as West Virginia. This study’s purpose was to investigate the overall risk factors of pedestrian fatalities by rurality and sex in West Virginia. Data were obtained from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The fatality had to occur within West Virginia between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2019. Risk factors of rural vs. urban and male vs. female crashes were determined using multivariable logistic regression models. Clustering of crash locations was analyzed using kernel density estimation and Ripley’s K. Among the 254 fatalities, most victims were male (70%). Most crashes occurred at night (76%), on highways (73%), on level (71%), non-curved (84%), dry (82%) roads during fair weather conditions (82%). Nearly 34% of the victims tested positive for alcohol. Men were 2.5 times as likely to be hit in a rural area (OR = 2.5; 95% CI 1.2, 5.4), on curved roads, and 57% less likely (OR = 0.43; 95% CI 0.2, 0.9) to test positive for drugs compared to women. Crash characteristics, including location, were similar between the sexes. As many risk factors were modifiable behaviors, public health interventions to ensure pedestrian safety may be necessary.
The aim of this contribution is to attempt to understand the adaptive functions of father-child rough-and-tumble play (RTP) in humans. We first present a synthesis of the known proximate and ultimate mechanisms of peer-peer RTP in mammals and compare human parent-child RTP with peer-peer RTP. Next, we examine the possible biological adaptive functions of father-child RTP in humans, by comparing paternal behavior in humans versus biparental animal species, in light of the activation relationship theory and the neurobiological basis of fathering. Analysis of analogies reveals that the endocrine profile of fathers is highly variable across species, compared to that of mothers. This can be interpreted as fathers' evolutionary adjustment to specific environmental conditions affecting the care of the young. Given the high unpredictability and risk-taking features of RTP, we conclude that human adult-child RTP appears to have a biological adaptive function, one of 'opening to the world'.
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Using a mobile phone while participating in traffic is a growing safety concern all over the world. However, mobile phone use (MPU) while riding an e-bike has not yet been given enough attention by researchers and practitioners. To fill this gap, this study conducted a preliminary online interview and a questionnaire-based survey in China to study what kinds of MPU behaviors e-bikers commonly engaged in and the prevalence of these behaviors. A conceptual dual-process framework consisting of e-bikers' demographics, e-bike usage pattern, nomophobia, attitude and self-control was also proposed to analyze the psychological mechanism underlying this phenomenon. The preliminary online interview revealed 7 typical types of MPU behaviors performed by e-bikers on the road. Results of the questionnaire survey showed that though the overall frequencies of MPU behaviors were low, nearly 60% of the respondents reported a history of mobile phone use during riding in the last three months. E-bikers' MPU frequencies were significantly impacted by e-bikers' gender, attitude, self-control and information-related nomophobia. Besides, self-control also significantly moderated the predictive effects of information-related nomophobia and attitude on MPU frequencies while ring an e-bike. Fears of being unable to access information on the mobile phone only contributed to MPU at low levels of self-control. In contrast, the protective effects of unfavorable attitude against engagement in the behavior became stronger at high self-control levels. The results not only offer deeper insights into the current situation of MPU among e-bikers in China, but also could facilitate the development of intervention and safety promotion strategies targeting this specific road user group.
This paper uses an analysis of betting decisions made in offcourse betting offices in the UK to explore differences between the nature of male and female betting behaviour. Specifically gender differences in levels of performance, propensity for risk taking and levels of confidence in betting decisions are considered. The results provide some evidence for greater risk propensity amongst male bettors, lower levels of female bettor confidence in their choices and some degree of performance advantage for women bettors. The results are discussed in relation to previous research; some of the apparent discrepancies are explained in terms of differences in motivational focus and gender differences in definitions of risk-taking and 'successful' performance. In this context areas for future research are highlighted.
Twenty-seven male and 40 female subjects aged between 14 and 16 years old were assessed for differences in mood response to, for them, the novel risk sport activity of abseiling down a rock face. Subjects completed the Telic State Measure and the Stress-Arousal Checklist just before and just after completing the risk activity. Males and females had similar scores on mood scale items with the exception of stress (SACL) on which a significant group effect pre-risk activity, a significant main effect pre- to post-risk activity and a significant group by time of testing interaction were obtained. These results indicated that abseiling down a rock face was a markedly more stressful experience for females than for their male peers.
Context Injuries from motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. Carrying passengers has been identified as a possible risk factor for these crashes.Objective To determine whether the presence of passengers is associated with an increased risk of crashes fatal to 16- and 17-year-old drivers and whether the risk varies by time of day and age and sex of drivers and passengers.Design and Setting Incidence study of data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and General Estimates System (1992-1997), as well as the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (1995).Subjects Drivers aged 16 and 17 years who drove passenger cars, vans, or pickup trucks.Main Outcome Measure Driver deaths per 10 million trips by number of passengers, driver age and sex, and time of day; and driver deaths per 1000 crashes by passenger age and sex.Results Compared with drivers of the same age without passengers, the relative risk of death per 10 million trips was 1.39 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-1.55) for 16-year-old drivers with 1 passenger, 1.86 (95% CI, 1.56-2.20) for those with 2 passengers, and 2.82 (95% CI, 2.27-3.50) for those with 3 or more passengers. The relative risk of death was 1.48 (95% CI, 1.35-1.62) for 17-year-old drivers with 1 passenger, 2.58 (95% CI, 2.24-2.95) for those with 2 passengers, and 3.07 (95% CI, 2.50-3.77) for those with 3 or more passengers. The risk of death increased significantly for drivers transporting passengers irrespective of the time of day or sex of the driver, although male drivers were at greater risk. Driver deaths per 1000 crashes increased for 16- and 17-year-olds transporting male passengers or passengers younger than 30 years.Conclusion Our data indicate that the risk of fatal injury for a 16- or 17-year-old driver increases with the number of passengers. This result supports inclusion of restrictions on carrying passengers in graduated licensing systems for young drivers.
the logic of treating homicide as a competition assay / the motive for killing / sex-specific life-span changes in killing / evolutionary psychology of dangerous confrontational risk taking / the adaptive logic of the sex difference in lethal risk taking / does human male risk-taking exhibit a sexually selected life-span pattern (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The role that gender plays in influencing the prevalence and patterns of sexual risk taking was examined in 245 college students from two samples (about 60% of whom were White, 20% Asian, 10% Black, and 6% Hispanic). The sexual experiences of these students were analyzed for potential risk associated with type of partners or sexual practices. Consistent with previous findings, males engaged in more risk taking behaviors relevant to partner choice (e.g., more partners and more casual knowledge of partners) and sexual practices (e.g., lower levels of contraceptive use) than females. Gender differences in patterns of risk taking were also found: For females, potentially risky behavior in the partner domain was negatively related to risky behavior in the sexual practice domain, whereas for males, the domains were positively related. The results suggested that males engaged in greater risk taking across many domains, while females compensate for risk in one domain by lower risk in another.
Sexual selection theory affords a rationale for predicting that men, especially young men, may be more willing than women to risk harms and to discount the future in the pursuit of short-term gains. These propositions apply to many domains of risky behavior, and it is likely that they apply to decisions involving potential harms to the environment and health hazards as well. Two preliminary studies of university subjects' responses to hypothetical dilemmas that support the predicted sex difference are described. Important understudied questions are, to what extent reckless risk acceptance may be mitigated by material wellbeing, by marriage, and by parenthood.
It is widely assumed that among hunter-gatherers, men work to provision their families. However, men may have more to gain by giving food to a wide range of companions who treat them favorably in return. If so, and if some resources better serve this end, men's foraging behavior should vary accordingly. Aspects of this hypothesis are tested on observations of food acquisition and sharing among Ache foragers of Eastern Paraguay. Previous analysis showed that different Ache food types were differently shared. Resources shared most widely were game animals. Further analysis and additional data presented here suggest a causal association between the wide sharing of game and the fact that men hunt and women do not. Data show that men preferentially target resources in both hunting and gathering which are more widely shared, resources more likely to be consumed outside their own nuclear families. These results have implications for 1) the identification of male reproductive trade-offs in human societies, 2) the view that families are units of common interest integrated by the sexual division of labor, 3) current reconstructions of the evolution of foraging and food sharing among early hominids, and 4) assessments of the role of risk and reciprocity in hunter-gatherer foraging strategies.
New Zealand adolescent males (n = 389) and females (n = 247) with a mean age of 15.86 years, were compared on a number of self-reported risky driving and passenger behaviors and attitudes. The survey found that males were significantly more likely than females to report driving, engaging in unsafe driving behaviors, drinking and driving, speeding on the open road, breaking the night curfew associated with being on a restricted licence, and dangerous thought patterns. Females were more likely to have been the passenger of a drinking driver after the last party they attended. High levels of unlicensed driving, breaking the rules associated with a restricted licence, failing to wear a seat belt in the back seat, speeding, and being the passenger of a drinking driver were found in both groups. Recommendations for intervention strategies are made.
Assessment of risk, protective, alcohol and other drug (AOD) knowledge, attitude, and AOD behavior of 1797 high-risk youth ages 12–18 who participated in the Community Youth Activity Program demonstration project funded to 14 grantees was accomplished using the Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior instrument. Findings of three ANOVA and MANOVA models show that (a) males demonstrate more risk than females; (b) African Americans and Native Americans show higher protective levels than whites and Hispanics; (c) males, as grade level increases, report more AOD knowledge than females; (d) males show more unhealthy attitudes than females, but as grade levels increase, attitudes improve for both males and females; (e) males report more AOD behavior than females, and both genders report increased usage as grade levels increase; and (f) protection level is directly related to AOD knowledge and attitude and inversely related to AOD behavior. Therefore, the more protection, the greater the AOD knowledge, the more positive the attitude, and the lower the risk of AOD behavior.
This paper examines whether gender differences in risk propensity and strategy in financial decision-making can be viewed as general traits, or whether they arise because of context factors. It presents the results of two computerised laboratory experiments designed to examine whether differences in risk preference and decision strategies are explained by the framing of tasks and level of task familiarity to subjects. The results show that females are less risk seeking than males irrespective of familiarity and framing, costs or ambiguity. The results also indicate that males and females adopt different strategies in financial decision environments but that these strategies have no significant impact on ability to perform. Because strategies are more easily observed than either risk preference or outcomes in day to day decisions, strategy differences may reinforce stereotypical beliefs that females are less able financial managers.