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Abstract

Intrasexual conflict may pose unique challenges for women. Whereas men’s aggression tends to be physical and direct, women’s tends to be relational and indirect, particularly when directed toward other women. Moreover, women’s expressions of anger are often suppressed, perhaps particularly when other women are the targets. Thus, women may face difficulty anticipating anger and anger-based aggression from other women. How might women manage this challenge? The functional projection of emotion may facilitate useful behavior; for instance, “seeing” anger on people believed to pose threats to physical safety may help perceivers preempt or avoid physical harm. Given the threats that women face, we predicted that (a) women are biased to “see” anger on neutral female (but not male) faces and that (b) women who are likely targets of intrasexual aggression (i.e., sexually desirable or available women) show an exaggerated bias. We report three studies that support these hypotheses and, more broadly, illustrate the value of a functional approach to social cognition.

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... Previous research indicates that in mating-relevant contexts, women, especially those who are highly attractive and desirable, are likely to be competitively targeted by other envious heterosexual women (Krems, Neuberg, Filip-Crawford, & Kenrick, 2015;Leenaars, Dane, & Marini, 2008;Russell, Babcock, Lewis, Ta, & Ickes, 2018a). ...
... In addition, this effect was predicted to be driven by attractive women (who are at risk for facing intrasexual rivalry from other women; Krems et al., 2015;Leenaars et al., 2008;Russell et al., 2018a), such that more attractive women who were assigned to the mating-related objective condition would be more likely to perceive the GM sales associate as having good intent, which in turn would lead to increased trust in his product recommendations. ...
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These studies draw on evolutionary psychology and intrasexual female competition to examine why female shoppers often prefer working with gay male sales associates over heterosexual female sales associates. Study 1 finds that female shoppers often attribute trustworthiness to gay male sales associates. Study 2 draws on theories of intrasexual competition and shows that female shoppers are more likely to trust product recommendations from a gay male sales associate than a heterosexual female sales associate when they feel a sense competitiveness with the female associate. Study 3 reveals that female shoppers’ trust in gay male sales associates is limited to situations in which they are intending to purchase products that are meant to enhance their physical appearance. Study 4 extends these findings by showing that women are more likely to trust gay male sales associates (vs. heterosexual female sales associates) when the objective of their purchase is to attract a desirable mate. The findings suggest that retailers should hire a diverse workforce and consider the role of e-commerce in helping some female shoppers avoid potentially uncomfortable situations. Keywords: intrasexual female competition, gay–straight relationships, evolutionary psychology, gay employees, social influence, retailing
... Because cognitive task has been shown to influence eye movement patterns ( Kardan et al., 2015;Borji & Itti, 2014), we instructed all participants to engage in an identical emotion recognition task reported previously in Krems et al. (2015) and Maner et al. (2005). Briefly, participants viewed pictures of targets' faces and were told that the photos were taken immediately after targets had re-lived emotional events in their lives, which evoked anger, fear, happiness, or pride, and then concealed their emotions with a neutral facial expression. ...
... For women, detecting visual cues of fertility may help modulate expectations for intrasexual interactions. Near ovulation, women may engage in social behaviors that disadvantage women with whom they interact (e.g., Durante et al., 2014;Krems et al. 2015;Necka et al., 2016). An ability to detect and anticipate such behavioral changes would potentially allow women to preemptively respond to fertile-phase women, protecting themselves from disadvantageous social outcomes such as reduced monetary gains (e.g., Durante et al., 2014) or wandering partners (e.g., Hurst et al., 2017;Krems et al., 2016). ...
Article
Past work demonstrates that humans behave differently towards women across their menstrual cycles, even after exclusively visual exposure to women's faces. People may look at women's faces differently as a function of women's menstrual cycles. Analyses of participants' scanpaths (eye movement patterns) while they looked at women at different phases of their menstrual cycles revealed that observers exhibit more consistent scanpaths when examining women's faces when women are in a menstrual cycle phase that typically corresponds with peak fertility, whereas they exhibit more variable patterns when looking at women's faces when they are in phases that do not correspond with fertility. A multivariate classifier on participants' scanpaths predicted whether they were looking at the face of a woman in a more typically fertile- versus non-fertile-phase of her menstrual cycle with above-chance accuracy. These findings demonstrate that people look at women's faces differently as a function of women's menstrual cycles, and suggest that people are sensitive to fluctuating visual cues associated with women's menstrual cycle phase.
... Before (Week 0), during (Week 4), and at the end of the EC (Week 6), as well as post-EC (Week 6 + 2, i.e., 2 weeks after the EC ended), the following measures were tested on the athletes (see Figure 1). We measured the athletes' affective associations with the coaches by using biases in an emotion recognition test (Maner et al., 2005;Krems et al., 2015) and an implicit association test (IAT; Greenwald et al., 2003;Karpinski and Steinman, 2006). We measured the athletes' explicit evaluation of their relationships with the coaches by using the Coach-Athlete Relationship Questionnaire (CART-Q; Jowett and Ntoumanis, 2004;Zhong and Wang, 2010), in which the athletes explicitly give ratings to a series of evaluative statements about the relationships. ...
... The EC intervention was conducted twice a week for 6 weeks (Week 1-6). The measures were tested before the intervention (Week 0), during the intervention (Week 4), at the end of the intervention (Week 6), and post intervention (Week 6 + 2). on the coaches' neutral faces (Maner et al., 2005;Krems et al., 2015). In the test, the three coaches' neutral front faces were displayed on screen one by one with the order randomized for each athlete. ...
Article
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Coach–athlete relationships are key to athletes’ well-being, development, training, and sports performance. The present study explored the effect of an evaluative conditioning (EC) intervention on the improvement of coach–athlete relationships. We applied a 6-week EC intervention to the athletes in a volleyball team with two of their coaches involved in the EC while the third coach taken as control. In the EC, we repeatedly presented the coaches’ facial images (i.e., conditioned stimuli) together with positively valenced pictures and words (i.e., unconditioned stimuli) to the athletes. The results showed that the EC intervention led the athletes to recognize their coaches’ neutral faces as showing more happiness, respond faster to coach-positive associations in the implicit association test (IAT), and give higher ratings to the coaches in the Coach–Athlete Relationship Questionnaire (CART-Q). The present study suggests that EC may be adopted as an effective intervention for coach–athlete relationships, altering athletes’ affective associations with their coaches to be more positive and improving their explicitly evaluation of the relationship.
... They also demonstrate increased jealousy towards women with these traits (Dijkstra & Buunk, 2001). Women see anger on neutral female faces, and this bias is exaggerated when rivals have sexually desirable physical characteristics (Krems, Neuberg, Filip-Crawford, & Kenrick, 2015). Females are less tolerant of women deemed "too sexy" based on factors like revealing clothing, and they prescribe indirect social consequences for sexy women, such as restricting nonsexual access to current mates (Vaillancourt & Sharma, 2011). ...
Article
This national study of United States women (N = 522) took an evolutionary approach to explaining Hostility towards Women and Rape Myth Acceptance, two constructs loading on a latent variable called Hostile Femininity. Everyday Sadism, Suspiciousness, Cognitive and Perceptual Dysregulation, and a lack of Eccentricity were expected to predict Hostile Femininity. Callousness and Manipulativeness were expected to predict Everyday Sadism. These hypotheses were largely supported; however, Withdrawal, not Cognitive and Perceptual Dysregulation, predicted Hostile Femininity in the final model. The structural equation model accounted for 64% of the variance in Hostile Femininity. It is proposed Hostile Femininity may represent motives for female intrasexual competition, an evolutionary concept explaining same-sex aggression. The hostile feminine profile emerging from this study is that of a conservative, conventional, and introverted woman who deeply distrusts other females. She likely enjoys using tactics such as gossip and social ostracism against other females, including women who have reported being sexually assaulted.
... and other researchers have reported previously. For example, our interpretation has already been supported by previous findings indicating that (1) straight women trust mating advice from gay men more than they do from other straight men or women (Russell et al., 2013;Russell et al., 2015); (2) straight women perceive more sincerity in gay men's mating information relative to that of both straight men and women (Russell et al., 2015); (3) more attractive women are more vigilant of other straight female competitors' anger and threat toward them (Krems, Neuberg, Filip-Crawford, & Kenrick, 2015), and (4) attractive women are frequent targets of manipulative tactics employed by these female competitors (Fisher & Cox, 2010). In summary, when the entire pattern of relevant findings is taken into account, our explanation appears to be the only one proposed so far that is both comprehensive and parsimonious enough to account for all of them. ...
Article
Although research has begun to elucidate why women form close friendships with homosexual males, little research has investigated individual differences in women's tendency to befriend gay men. Because (1) gay men do not have the motive to mate with women or to compete with them for straight male partners and (2) attractive women are more likely to be sexually and competitively targeted by heterosexual individuals, we hypothesized that attractive women place greater value on gay's men mating advice and are more likely to befriend them. In Study 1, participants indicated their likelihood of deceiving female targets. Results revealed that more attractive targets were more likely to be both sexually deceived by straight men and competitively deceived by women. In Study 2, women created their ideal group of friends by allocating “friend dollars” to individuals of different genders and sexual orientations. More attractive women allocated more dollars to gay male friends, and this out-come was mediated by their perception that gay men would value them beyond sex and could offer them valuable mating advice. These findings suggest that befriending gay men may be an important feature of women's mating strategies, especially among attractive women who face greater mating threats from heterosexual individuals.
... Although women's primary mode of mating competition over human evolution was probably mate attraction (Puts, 2010;Puts, 2016), women also engage in intrasexual competition, including derogation of competitors (Fisher, 2004;Vaillancourt, 2013), physical fighting over mates (Campbell, 2013), and less overt competitive behaviors, such as vigilance and mate guarding (Krems et al., 2015). ...
Article
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Hormones orchestrate and coordinate human female sexual development, sexuality, and reproduction in relation to three types of phenotypic changes: life history transitions such as puberty and childbirth, responses to contextual factors such as caloric intake and stress, and cyclical patterns such as the ovulatory cycle. Here, we review the endocrinology underlying women's reproductive phenotypes, including sexual orientation and gender identity, mate preferences, competition for mates, sex drive, and maternal behavior. We highlight distinctive aspects of women's sexuality such as the possession of sexual ornaments, relatively cryptic fertile windows, extended sexual behavior across the ovulatory cycle, and a period of midlife reproductive senescence-and we focus on how hormonal mechanisms were shaped by selection to produce adaptive outcomes. We conclude with suggestions for future research to elucidate how hormonal mechanisms subserve women's reproductive phenotypes.
... Highly attractive or seemingly promiscuous women are frequent targets of women's derogation (e.g., Vaillancourt 2013). Interestingly, these frequent targets may possess unique defenses against victimization (Krems et al. 2015). ...
Chapter
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... Yet, the existing research on gender differences in close friendships in adulthood is sparse partly due to a lack of suitable data [26,27]. The available studies so far indicate that close female friends facilitate cooperation and information exchange [28], protect against aggression [29], and assist with mate retention [30], while the replacement of kin with friends alters the structure of their social network [31]. Among the Hadza hunter gatherers, close female kin tend to help mothers the most with childrearing, but also non-related kin helped by providing around one tenth of the full amount of child care time [32]. ...
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Earlier attempts to investigate the changes of the role of friendship in different life stages have failed due to lack of data. We close this gap by using a large data set of mobile phone calls from a European country in 2007, to study how the people's call patterns to their close social contacts are associated with age and gender of the callers. We hypothesize that (i) communication with peers, defined as callers of similar age, will be most important during the period of family formation and that (ii) the importance of best friends defined as same-sex callers of exactly the same age, will be stronger for women than for men. Results show that the frequency of phone calls with the same-sex peers in this population turns out to be relatively stable through life for both men and women. In line with the first hypothesis, there was a significant increase in the length of the phone calls for callers between ages 30 to 40 years. Partly in line with the second hypothesis, the increase in phone calls turned out to be particularly pronounced among females, although there were only minor gender differences in call frequencies. Furthermore, women tended to have long phone conversations with their same-age female friend, and also with somewhat older peers. In sum, we provide evidence from big data for the adult life stages at which peers are most important, and suggest that best friends appear to have a niche of their own in human sociality.
... Walking gait is a highdimensional biological movement which potentially can express emotional states through many different partial movement patterns. Emotional states can also be identified by perceivers in a range of different biological movements, such as facial expressions (Adolphs, 2006;Ekman & Oster, 1979;Krems, Neuberg, Filip-Crawford, & Kenrick, 2015;Lipp, Price, & Tellegen, 2009), dancing (Dittrich, Troscianko, Lea, & Morgan, 1996;Walk & Homan, 1984), door knocking (Pollick, Paterson, Bruderlin, & Sanford, 2001), drinking (Pollick et al., 2001), and through dyadic non-verbal communications (Zibrek, Hoyet, Ruhland, & Mcdonnell, 2015). It could be reasonably argued that all human behaviour is partially influenced from their felt and presumably perceived emotional state. ...
Article
Perceiving emotions from gait can serve numerous socio-environmental functions (e.g. perceiving threat, sexual courting behaviours). Participant perceivers were asked to report their strategies for identifying happiness, sadness, anger and fear in point-light walkers. Perceivers claimed they identified happiness by a bouncing gait with increased arm movement, sadness by a slow slouching gait, anger by a fast stomping gait and fear by both fast and slow gaits. The emotion-specific point-light walker stimuli were kinematically analysed to verify the presence of the gait cues perceivers reported using to identify each emotion. Happy and angry walkers both displayed long strides with increased arm movement though angry strides had a faster cadence. Fearful walkers walked with fast short strides reminiscent of a scurrying gait. Sad walkers walked with slow short strides consequently creating the slowest walking pace. However, fearful and sad walkers showed less arm movement in their gait in different ways. Sad walkers moved their entire arms whilst fearful walkers primarily moved their lower arms throughout their gait.
... More attractive women, therefore, are argued to be more likely to initiate and be the tar gets of gossip (Campbell, 2013;Massar et al. 2012). Women with higher levels of attrac tiveness also appear more likely to "see" anger on neutral female faces, perhaps as an ex aggerated threat detection bias (Krems et al. 2015). Women have also been found to re port greater feelings of jealousy and competitiveness when exposed to images of attrac tive women Fink et al. 2014). ...
Chapter
In the evolutionary sciences, gossip is argued to constitute an adaptation that enabled human beings to disseminate information about and to keep track of others within a vast and expansive social network. Although gossip can effectively encourage in-group cooper­ation, it can also be used as a low-cost and covert aggressive tactic to compete with oth­ers for valued resources. In line with evolutionary logic, the totality of evidence to date demonstrates that women prefer to aggress indirectly against their rivals via tactics such as gossip and social exclusion, in comparison to men who use proportionally more direct forms of aggression (e.g., physical aggression). As such, it has been argued that hetero­sexual women may use gossip as their primary weapon of choice to derogate same-sex ri­vals in order to damage their reputation and render them less desirable as mates to the opposite sex. This involves attacking the physical attractiveness and sexual reputation of other women, which correspond to men's evolved mating preferences. Androcentric theo­rizing in the evolutionary sciences has stifled a well-rounded understanding of how women use gossip to compete, with whom, and in what situations.
... Such strong men might also be more likely to have outbursts of anger unpredictably (i.e., not only in reaction to being undervalued; Cheng et al., 2010). The same behavior would be taboo in a faculty meeting, however, even if an ostensibly lowerstatus adjunct undervalued a seeming higher-status full professor; and the same behavior is less likely to be observed among women, who might be more likely to hide their anger and later engage in forms of indirect aggression that allow the aggressor to remain anonymous (see Krems et al., 2015; see also Brescoll and Uhlmann, 2008). These brief examples suggest that anger displays from those who derive status from prestige or benefit generation (and withholding; for reviews see, e.g., Maner, 2017;Cheng, 2020; see also Case et al., 2021) might be less likely to engage in overt and perhaps male-typical anger displays (i.e., anger displays as traditionally conceptualized). ...
Article
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Status is a universal feature of human sociality. A lesser-studied adaptive problem surrounding status is assessing who has which levels of status in a given group (e.g., identifying which people possess high status). Here, we integrate theory and methods from evolutionary social science, animal behavior, and social psychology, and we use an emotion inference paradigm to investigate what cues render people high status in the eyes of social perceivers. This paradigm relies on robust associations between status and emotion display—particularly the anger display. If a target is expected to enact (but not necessarily feel) anger, this would suggest that social perceivers view that target as higher status. By varying target attributes, we test whether those attributes are considered status cues in the eyes of social perceivers. In two well-powered, pre-registered experiments in the United States (N = 451) and India (N = 378), participants read one of eight vignettes about a male or female target—described as high or low in either physical strength or physical attractiveness (possible status cues)—who is thwarted by another person, and then reported expectations of the target’s felt and enacted anger. We find that people expected physically stronger (versus less strong) men and more (versus less) physically attractive women to enact greater anger when thwarted by a same-sex other. Strength had no significant effect on estimations of female status and attractiveness had no significant effect on estimations of male status. There were no differences in expectations of felt anger. Results suggest that people use men’s strength and women’s attractiveness as status cues. Moreover, results underscore the notion that focusing on male-typical cues of status might obscure our understanding of the female status landscape. We discuss how this paradigm might be fruitfully employed to examine and discover other unexplored cues of male and female status.
... Whereas men's intrasexual aggression has been studied for over a century, women's has received attention only in recent decades (Arnocky & Vaillancourt, 2017;Vaillancourt, 2013). Even less work has focused on how women actively defend themselves against such aggression (Krems, Neuberg, Filip-Crawford, & Kenrick, 2015). Yet, we should expect that women can (a) grasp which cues/signals evoke same-sex aggression and (b) strategically damp (some of) those cues/signals when aggression risk is heightened, thereby avoiding the potentially high costs of victimization. ...
Article
Women’s intrasexual competition has received significant attention only in the last decades, with even less work investigating women’s defenses against such aggression. Yet, we should expect that women can (a) grasp which perceptually-salient cues evoke same-sex aggression and (b) strategically damp the display of (some of) those cues when aggression risk is greatest, thereby avoiding the potentially high costs of victimization. Women selectively aggress against women displaying cues of sexual permissiveness (e.g., revealing dress) and/or desirability (e.g., physical attractiveness). We find that (a) women (and men) anticipate greater intrasexual aggression toward women dressed revealingly versus modestly, especially if targets are attractive. Employing behavioral and self-report measures, we also find (b) women create outfits baring less skin, select more modest clothing, and intend to dress less revealingly to encounter other women, flexibly damping permissiveness cues depending on individual features (physical attractiveness) and situational features (being a newcomer) that amplify aggression risk.
... For example, a large angry man is a bigger potential threat to the perceiver than a small angry woman thus the perceiver would be especially sensitised to the identification of anger in large men. Congruent with ecological theories, each emotion motivates one into interacting with others in a specific way with some emotions being more important for survival than others (Chouchourelou et al., 2006;Walk & Homan, 1984), with particular emphasis on the perception of anger (Harris & Ciaramitaro, 2016;Krems, Neuberg, Filip-Crawford, & Kenrick, 2015;Vaughn Becker, Kenrick, Neuberg, Blackwell, & Smith, 2007). Generally, happiness motivates towards social engagement, sadness motivates to social withdrawal, anger motivates towards conflict, and fear motivates away from conflict. ...
Article
We investigated the existence and nature of adaptation aftereffects on the visual perception of basic emotions displayed through walking gait. Stimuli were previously validated gender-ambiguous point-light walker models displaying various basic emotions (happy, sad, anger and fear). Results indicated that both facilitative and inhibitive aftereffects influenced the perception of all displayed emotions. Facilitative aftereffects were found between theoretically opposite emotions (i.e. happy/sad and anger/fear). Evidence suggested that low-level and high-level visual processes contributed to both stimulus aftereffect and conceptual aftereffect mechanisms. Significant aftereffects were more frequently evident for the time required to identify the displayed emotion than for emotion identification rates. The perception of basic emotions from walking gait is influenced by a number of different perceptual mechanisms which shift the categorical boundaries of each emotion as a result of perceptual experience. Public significance statement: The perception of an emotion displayed through walking style is influenced by the display of the previous emotion. This shows that our ability to perceive the emotion displayed by others continually varies with recent perceptual experience and is influenced by multiple mechanisms. This knowledge has implications for any profession, which relies to some extent, on the visual perception of displayed emotions by others, such as clinical psychologists.
... On the one hand, we expect to find similar results because men and women have the same vocal structure and associated nervous system and women do physically fight (Archer, 2009). However, research has shown that women may facially signal anger-an emotion closely associated with aggression-differently from men, especially when they are angry at other women (Krems, Neuberg, Filip-Crawford, & Kenrick, 2015). Thus, it is possible that women's vocal signals of aggressive intent also differ from men's when they are faced with same-sex rivals. ...
Article
Voice pitch is the primary perceptual correlate of fundamental frequency (fo) and describes how low or high a voice is perceived by listeners. Prior research showed that men whose habitual voice pitch is lower are perceived to have stronger fighting ability. However, voice pitch is also flexible and can thus be used facultatively to signal states that change situationally, such as current aggressive intent (i.e., readiness to use aggression). Drawing on motivation-structural-rules theory, this research tests the hypothesis that male speakers will be perceived as more likely to attack when they lower (compared to raise) their pitch to address an adversary in a conflict situation. Three experiments using male speakers and listeners supported this hypothesis, both with and without controlling for the perception of the speakers' fighting ability. In contrast, the same experiments found no evidence that pitch lowering enhanced the speakers' perceived fighting ability after controlling for their perceived aggressive intent. Moreover, we found mixed evidence that the speakers' perceived physical strength interacted with pitch modulation to influence their perceived aggressive intent. On balance, these findings show that, at least for men, pitch modulation is primarily an aggressive-intent signal assessed independently of signalers' fighting ability. Future research should distinguish between perceptions of aggressive-intent and fighting-ability when examining the perceptual effects of male voice-pitch modulation in intrasexual competition.
... Indeed, women, but attractive women in particular, strategically select more modest clothing when interacting with other women (versus both men and women), suggesting they anticipate costs to displaying sexuality to same-sex peers (Krems et al., 2019). Women's perceptual biases lend further credulity to these contentions: physically attractive and sexually unrestrained women assume more hostility in neutral female faces, suggesting they realize (at some level) they are the frequent targets of other women's scorn (Krems, Neuberg, Filip-Crawford, & Kenrick, 2015). Women's intrasexual competitive responses can even be evoked by media depictions of sexualized women. ...
Article
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Investigations of women’s same-sex relationships present a paradoxical pattern, with women generally disliking competition, yet also exhibiting signs of intrasexual rivalry. The current article leverages the historical challenges faced by female ancestors to understand modern women’s same-sex relationships. Across history, women were largely denied independent access to resources, often depending on male partners’ provisioning to support themselves and their children. Same-sex peers thus became women’s primary romantic rivals in competing to attract and retain relationships with the limited partners able and willing to invest. Modern women show signs of this competition, disliking and aggressing against those who threaten their romantic prospects, targeting especially physically attractive and sexually uninhibited peers. However, women also rely on one another for aid, information, and support. As most social groups were patrilocal across history, upon marriage, women left their families to reside with their husbands. Female ancestors likely used reciprocal altruism or mutualism to facilitate cooperative relationships with nearby unrelated women. To sustain these mutually beneficial cooperative exchange relationships, women may avoid competitive and status-striving peers, instead preferring kind, humble, and loyal allies. Ancestral women who managed to simultaneously compete for romantic partners while forming cooperative female friendships would have been especially successful. Women may therefore have developed strategies to achieve both competitive and cooperative goals, such as guising their intrasexual competition as prosociality or vulnerability. These historical challenges make sense of the seemingly paradoxical pattern of female aversion to competition, relational aggression, and valuation of loyal friends, offering insight into possible opportunities for intervention.
... unspoken jockeying over relative status (e.g., Benenson, 2014;Campbell, 1999). Women are considered to be, and usually present themselves as, unconcerned with, or even averse to, competing against other women (Benenson et al., 2019;Bönte, 2014;Harness Goodwin, 2002a;Niederle & Vesterlund, 2007), yet women are also zealously on guard for other women's ability or intentions to compete (Benenson, 2014;Benenson et al., 2006;Benenson et al., 2011;Krems et al., 2015). In fact, women enforce norms of egalitarianism within their same-sex friendships and punish other women who attempt to appear superior (Benenson, 2014;Eder, 1993). ...
... Moreover, female intrasexual aggression can be costly, disrupting valuable social ties and possibly even affecting the ability to conceive, carry and rear offspr ing 1,21,23,28,[50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58][59] . This is true even as the types of aggression typically enacted between women are less overt; compared with males, who use both physical (for example, punching) and non-physical tactics (for example, gossip), human females strongly prefer to enact intrasexual aggression via the latter-using reputation denigration, gossip and social exclusion-and some non-human primate females are also thought to engage in more social exclusion than male conspecifics 23,28,30,46,47,60 . Such female competition can effectively decrease the desirability of targets in the eyes of both prospective mates and cooperative partners in multiple ways 23,28,[47][48][49] . ...
Article
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After half a century of debate and few empirical tests, there remains no consensus concerning why ovulation in human females is considered concealed. The predominant male investment hypothesis states that females were better able to obtain material investment from male partners across those females’ ovulatory cycles by concealing ovulation. We build on recent work on female competition to propose and investigate an alternative—the female rivalry hypothesis—that concealed ovulation benefited females by allowing them to avoid aggression from other females. Using an agent-based model of mating behaviour and paternal investment in a human ancestral environment, we did not find strong support for the male investment hypothesis, but found support for the female rivalry hypothesis. Our results suggest that concealed ovulation may have benefitted females in navigating their intrasexual social relationships. More generally, this work implies that explicitly considering female–female interactions may inspire additional insights into female behaviour and physiology.
... Behavioral observations, such as Vaillancourt and Sharma's (2011), would allow for a more accurate assessment of the use of these representations to aggress against potentially permissive rivals. Additionally, coordinated aggression may bolster research on women's abilities to assess competitors' motivations in interpersonal contexts (Krems, Neel, Neuberg, Puts, & Kenrick, 2016;Krems, Neuberg, Filip-Crawford, & Kenrick, 2015). ...
Article
Here, we identify a novel reason why women are often criticized and condemned for (allegedly) sexually permissive behavior due to their choice of clothing. Combining principles from coordinated condemnation and sexual economics theory, we developed a model of competition that helps explain this behavior. We hypothesized that women collectively condemn other women who appear to be sexually permissive (based on their choice of clothing). Study 1 (N = 712) demonstrated that women perceived a rival with visible cleavage more negatively. These perceptions were ultimately driven by the belief that "provocatively" dressed women are more likely to have one-night stands. Study 2 (N = 341) demonstrated that women criticized provocatively dressed women, even when these women were not direct sexual rivals (e.g., her boyfriend's sister). Our findings suggest that future research should investigate competition outside of mating-relevant domains to understand women's intrasexual competition fully.
... Conflicts over reproduction in social species typically appear to be resolved without overt aggression, but much remains to be learnt about the mechanisms involved (Young and Bennett 2013). In humans, studies have highlighted several proximate mediators of female aggression, including hormonal, neurobiological and cultural influences, which facilitate flexible responses to rapidly changing social environments (Stockley and Campbell 2013;Krems et al. 2015). How these mechanisms underlie the type of conflicts and outcomes highlighted in our study is yet unknown, but would significantly improve the cross-disciplinary understanding of female competition. ...
Article
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Studying the evolution of cooperative breeding and group living requires simultaneous quantification of both helping benefits and competitive costs within groups. Although such research has traditionally focused on the fitness benefits of helping behavior, increasing evidence now highlights reproductive competition in cooperatively breeding animals including humans. Human groups consist of cooperative individuals of varying relatedness, predicted to lead to conflict when resources are limited and relatedness low. However, few studies exist that determine the costs of co-breeding to both parties sharing resources. Here, we studied female reproductive competition in historical Finnish joint-families where brothers stayed on their natal farms and sisters married out, so that several unrelated women of reproductive age co-resided in the same households. Using detailed parish registers we quantified the effects of simultaneous reproduction of these women on their offspring mortality. We found that the risk for offspring mortality before adulthood was increased by 23% if co-resident women reproduced within 2 years of each other, a risk that was not associated with the overall numbers of co-resident reproductive-aged women or children. Such costly competition may have promoted the evolution of birth scheduling, dispersal patterns and life-history traits including menopause that avoid resource competition with other reproductive females.
Article
This study investigated whether androstadienone (AND) influences women’s emotional perception of potential mates and rivals in a manner that promotes women’s reproductive success. Sixty participants (29 in the fertile phase and 31 in the luteal phase) rated their perception of happiness, sadness, anger and sexual arousal from male and female neutral faces during exposure to AND or control solution on two consecutive days. The results showed that AND led women to perceive neutral female faces as unhappier, regardless of their menstrual cycle phase. In addition, AND led women in the fertile phase (i.e., periovulatory phase) to perceive more anger from neutral female faces. Further, no AND-effects were found on the emotional perception of male faces, nor were there perceptions of the sadness or sexual arousal in female faces. These findings may suggest that AND influences women’s cognitive processing that can benefit women from staying away from potential threats or preparing to reduce the costs of intrasexual competition.
Article
Unlike for men, cues of threat in women's faces have not been well-studied. Although morphological markers, such as facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) and body mass index (BMI), have been associated with physical threat in men, evidence for these relationships in women is less clear. Further, because women's aggression is typically social rather than physical, it is possible that threat advertisement and assessment mechanisms evolved to track social rather than physical threat in women and thus involve different cues. This possibility has not been readily investigated. Here we present the results of a study involving more than 36,000 judgements of 98 women's faces from 635 independent raters on 12 different threat-related characteristics—one of the most comprehensive analysis of perceptions of threat in women's faces to date. Perceptions of threat/influence in women's faces were related to their actual social but not physical threat. Further, fWHR and BMI did not appear to account for this accuracy. Our results suggest that threat advertisement and assessment in women may track their propensity to socially rather than physically harm others.
Book
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While many women receive equal education, such equality is nowhere in sight when it comes to women’s and men’s career success: men still earn significantly more than women and are more likely to be promoted. In this book, the authors offer a state of the art review of applied social-psychological research on gender at work, shedding light on all the different ways that work-related perceptions, attributions, outcomes, and the like differ for women and men. Focusing on domains (e.g., engineering) and positions (e.g., leadership) that are marked by women’s underrepresentation, the first part of the book looks at gender at work in terms of stereotypes, attitudes, and social roles, including parenthood, while the second part takes a social identity and communication perspective, exploring the situations in which men and women interact at work. Many chapters focus on applied questions, such as career choice, effects of role models, and sexual harassment at work. Theories and findings are applied to these topics, with conclusions and recommendations drawn throughout the book.
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U.S. emotion culture contains beliefs that women are more emotional and emotionally expressive than men and that men and women differ in their experience and expression of specific emotions. Using data from the 1996 emotions module of the GSS, the authors investigate whether men and women differ in self-reports of feelings and expressive behavior, evaluating whether the patterns observed for men and women are consistent with cultural beliefs as well as predictions from two sociological theories about emotion and two sociological theories about gender. Surprisingly, self-reports do not support cultural beliefs about gender differences in the frequency of everyday subjective feelings in general. Men and women do, however, differ in the frequency of certain positive and negative feelings, which is explained by their difference in social position. The implications of the findings for theory and research on both gender and emotion are discussed.
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Theoretical models based on primate evidence suggest that social structure determines the costs and benefits of particular aggressive strategies. In humans, males more than females interact in groups of unrelated same-sex peers, and larger group size predicts success in inter-group contests. In marked contrast, human females form isolated one-on-one relationships with fewer instrumental benefits, so social exclusion constitutes a more useful strategy. If this model is accurate, then human social exclusion should be utilized by females more than males and females should be more sensitive to its occurrence. Here we present four studies supporting this model. In Study 1, using a computerized game with fictitious opponents, we demonstrate that females are more willing than males to socially exclude a temporary ally. In Study 2, females report more actual incidents of social exclusion than males do. In Study 3, females perceive cues revealing social exclusion more rapidly than males do. Finally, in Study 4, females' heart rate increases more than males' in response to social exclusion. Together, results indicate that social exclusion is a strategy well-tailored to human females' social structure.
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This chapter first considers the definition of anger, and then reviews the empirical literature on gender differences in anger in adults, including an explication of the rules, norms, and stereotypes for the expression and experience of anger. How theories of anger address gender are then considered. The chapter concludes with directions for research and suggestions for dispelling the persistent myths about women's anger. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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We assessed sex differences in the effects of physical attractiveness and earning potential on mate selection, and sex differences in preferences and motivations with regard to short-term and long-term mating. We also investigated the effect of a variable likely to produce intra-sex variations in the selection of mating tactics, self-perceived mating success. Forty-eight university students were presented with pictures and short descriptions of persons of the opposite sex varying in physical attractiveness and earning potential. Dating interest was influenced, for both sexes, by stimulus-person's physical attractiveness and earning potential, but these two characteristics interacted only for female raters. Male and female subjects showed discrepant preferences and motivations with regard to short-term and long-term mating. In addition, self-perceived mating success was related to mating tactics in males only: Males who perceived themselves as more successful, compared to males who perceived themselves as less successful, tended to prefer and to more often select short-term mating. This effect was maximized when the stimulus person was very attractive and of high earning potential. These results confirm sex differences in mating preferences, strongly suggest a proximal factor of tactic selection, and suggest that males' mating strategies may be more variable than females'.
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Meta-analytic reviews of sex differences in aggression from real-world settings are described. They cover self-reports, observations, peer reports, and teacher reports of overall direct, physical, verbal, and indirect forms of aggression, as well as (for self-reports) trait anger. Findings are related to sexual selection theory and social role theory. Direct, especially physical, aggression was more common in males and females at all ages sampled, was consistent across cultures, and occurred from early childhood on, showing a peak between 20 and 30 years. Anger showed no sex differences. Higher female indirect aggression was limited to later childhood and adolescence and varied with method of measurement. The overall pattern indicated males' greater use of costly methods of aggression rather than a threshold difference in anger. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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A set of face stimuli called the NimStim Set of Facial Expressions is described. The goal in creating this set was to provide facial expressions that untrained individuals, characteristic of research participants, would recognize. This set is large in number, multiracial, and available to the scientific community online. The results of psychometric evaluations of these stimuli are presented. The results lend empirical support for the validity and reliability of this set of facial expressions as determined by accurate identification of expressions and high intra-participant agreement across two testing sessions, respectively.
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Sociosexuality is usually assessed as the overall orientation toward uncommitted sex, although this global approach may mask unique contributions of different components. In a large online study (N = 2,708) and a detailed behavioral assessment of 283 young adults (both singles and couples) with a 1-year follow-up, the authors established 3 theoretically meaningful components of sociosexuality: past behavioral experiences, the attitude toward uncommitted sex, and sociosexual desire (all measured by a revised version of the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory). Discriminant validity was shown with regard to (a) their factorial structure, (b) sex differences, (c) many established correlates of sociosexuality, and (d) the prediction of observed flirting behavior when meeting an attractive opposite-sex stranger, even down to the level of objectively coded behaviors, as well as (e) the self-reported number of sexual partners and (f) changes in romantic relationship status over the following year. Within couples, the 3 components also showed distinct degrees of assortative mating and distinct effects on the romantic partner. Implications for the evolutionary psychology of mating tactics are discussed.
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This article proposes a contextual-evolutionary theory of human mating strategies. Both men and women are hypothesized to have evolved distinct psychological mechanisms that underlie short-term and long-term strategies. Men and women confront different adaptive problems in short-term as opposed to long-term mating contexts. Consequently, different mate preferences become activated from their strategic repertoires. Nine key hypotheses and 22 predictions from Sexual Strategies Theory are outlined and tested empirically. Adaptive problems sensitive to context include sexual accessibility, fertility assessment, commitment seeking and avoidance, immediate and enduring resource procurement, paternity certainty, assessment of mate value, and parental investment. Discussion summarizes 6 additional sources of behavioral data, outlines adaptive problems common to both sexes, and suggests additional contexts likely to cause shifts in mating strategy.
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A new theory of cognitive biases, called error management theory (EMT), proposes that psychological mechanisms are designed to be predictably biased when the costs of false-positive and false-negative errors were asymmetrical over evolutionary history. This theory explains known phenomena such as men's overperception of women's sexual intent, and it predicts new biases in social inference such as women's underestimation of men's commitment. In Study 1 (N = 217), the authors documented the commitment underperception effect predicted by EMT. In Study 2 (N = 289), the authors replicated the commitment bias and documented a condition in which men's sexual overperception bias is corrected. Discussion contrasts EMT with the heuristics and biases approach and suggests additional testable hypotheses based on EMT.
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Defenses, such as flight, cough, stress, and anxiety, should theoretically be expressed to a degree that is near the optimum needed to protect against a given threat. Many defenses seem, however, to be expressed too readily or too intensely. Furthermore, there are remarkably few untoward effects from using drugs to dampen defensive responses. A signal detection analysis of defense regulation can help to resolve this apparent paradox. When the cost of expressing an all-or-none defense is low compared to the potential harm it protects against, the optimal system will express many false alarms. Defenses with graded responses are expressed to the optimal degree when the marginal cost equals the marginal benefit, a point that may vary considerably from the intuitive optimum. Models based on these principles show that the overresponsiveness of many defenses is only apparent, but they also suggest that, in specific instances, defenses can often be dampened without compromising fitness. The smoke detector principle is an essential foundation for making decisions about when drugs can be used safely to relieve suffering and block defenses.
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Human cognition is often biased, from judgments of the time of impact of approaching objects all the way through to estimations of social outcomes in the future. We propose these effects and a host of others may all be understood from an evolutionary psychological perspective. In this article, we elaborate error management theory (EMT; Haselton & Buss, 2000). EMT predicts that if judgments are made under uncertainty, and the costs of false positive and false negative errors have been asymmetric over evolutionary history, selection should have favored a bias toward making the least costly error. This perspective integrates a diverse array of effects under a single explanatory umbrella, and it yields new content-specific predictions.
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Women have been observed to smile more than men in a variety of social contexts. In order to investigate the consequences of this sex difference for the way men and women are perceived, male and female college students rated the characteristics of men and women depicted in verbal descriptions accompanied by photographs in which they either smiled or did not smile. In control conditions these targets were rated without accompanying photographs. The findings showed that the absence of smiles had a greater impact on perceptions of women than on perceptions of men. When not smiling, women were perceived as less happy, less carefree and less relaxed than were men. Moreover, nonsmiling women were rated less happy, less warm, less relaxed and less carefree than the average woman, whereas smiling men were rated more favorably on those traits than the average man. These results suggest that different standards are applied to men and women. If women fail to perform expressive and warm nonverbal behavior, they will be evaluated more harshly than men.
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Indirect aggression includes behaviours such as criticizing a competitor's appearance, spreading rumours about a person's sexual behaviour and social exclusion. Human females have a particular proclivity for using indirect aggression, which is typically directed at other females, especially attractive and sexually available females, in the context of intrasexual competition for mates. Indirect aggression is an effective intrasexual competition strategy. It is associated with a diminished willingness to compete on the part of victims and with greater dating and sexual behaviour among those who perpetrate the aggression.
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This study examined the content of adults' stereotypes about sex differences in both the experience and the expression of emotions and investigated how these beliefs vary with the age of the target person. Four hundred college students (200 men and 200 women) judged the frequency with which they believed males or females in one of five age groups (infants, preschoolers, elementary schoolers, adolescents, and adults) typically feel and express 25 different emotions. It was found that adults' gender-emotion stereotypes held for both basic and nonbasic emotions and appear to be based on a deficit model of male emotional expressiveness (i.e., a belief that males do not express the emotions they feel). Moreover, these beliefs about sex differences in emotionality refer primarily to adolescents and adults. It was concluded that gender-emotion stereotypes are complex and that there may be an age-of-target bias in the evaluation of others' emotions.
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This study investigated 3 broad classes of individual-differences variables (job-search motives, competencies, and constraints) as predictors of job-search intensity among 292 unemployed job seekers. Also assessed was the relationship between job-search intensity and reemployment success in a longitudinal context. Results show significant relationships between the predictors employment commitment, financial hardship, job-search self-efficacy, and motivation control and the outcome job-search intensity. Support was not found for a relationship between perceived job-search constraints and job-search intensity. Motivation control was highlighted as the only lagged predictor of job-search intensity over time for those who were continuously unemployed. Job-search intensity predicted Time 2 reemployment status for the sample as a whole, but not reemployment quality for those who found jobs over the study's duration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This study replicated and extended previously reported sex differences involving both viewer and target in the recognition of threatening facial expressions. Based on the assumption that the evolved cognitive mechanisms mediating anger recognition would have been designed by natural selection to operate quickly in the interests of survival, brief tachistoscopic presentation of stimulus photographs was used. Additionally, in contrast to prior published studies, the statistical methods of signal detection research were used to control for the confounding effects of non-random guessing. The main hypothesis, that anger posed by males would be more accurately perceived than anger posed by females, was supported. A secondary hypothesis, that female-posed anger would be more accurately perceived by women than by men, received partial support. Testosterone levels, measured inferentially in terms of diurnal cycles, failed to show the hypothesized positive relationship to accuracy of anger perception.
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Criminologists have drawn attention to the fact that crime peaks in the teens and early 20s and that this pattern shows invariance over culture, history, offense, and sex. Wilson and Daly (1985) have proposed that among young, disadvantaged males, the age-crime curve reflects risky tactics aimed at averting “reproductive death.” Though young women's rate of involvement in violent crime is much lower than men's, they also show a similar age-violence curve for assault. This paper proposes that this may be the result of aggressive mate selection among young women and that, under certain specified circumstances, women may engage in low-key intrasexual strategies in addition to epigamic strategies. This paper reviews material on sex differences in violent crime and in mate selection strategies, and offers predictions about the likely circumstances under which females will use intrasexual strategies. The scant available data on female adolescent fighting suggest that female-female assaults are more common than official statistical estimates and that they are frequently triggered by three key issues related to reproductive fitness: management of sexual reputation, competition over access to resource-rich young men, and protecting heterosexual relationships from takeover by rival women.
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Men's greater use of direct aggression is not evident in studies of intimate partner aggression. In previous research, the effects of target sex and relationship intimacy have frequently been confounded. This study sought to examine these effects separately. One hundred and seventy-four participants (59 male and 115 female) read vignette scenarios in which they were provoked by a same-sex best friend, an opposite-sex best friend, and a partner. For each target, participants estimated their likely use of direct physical and verbal aggression as well as noninjurious forms of anger expression. Results showed that men lower their aggression in the context of an intimate partnership and that this is an effect of the target's sex. In contrast, women raise their aggression in the context of an intimate partnership and this is an effect of intimacy with the target. The use of noninjurious angry behavior did not vary between targets for either sex of the participant, which suggests that the effects of target are confined to behaviors which carry an intention to harm. Possible effects of social norms and oxytocin-mediated emotional disinhibition on intimate partner aggression are discussed.
Book
* A highly controversial book challenging current evolutionary thinking on women * A new book in the popular field of evolutionary psychology * Accessible and dynamic account of evolutionary theory Theories of human evolution portray ancestral men as active individuals who shaped future generations by testosterone-driven competition, creating a critical gulf between reproductive winners and losers. But what role is left for women within such evolutionary thinking? Their role has been constricted to mere consumers of the fruits of male competition accepting the winning male genes to pass to their children. Allegedly devoid of the need and capacity for competition amongst themselves, women could be neither winners nor losers in the reproductive stakes and so could contribute nothing to the genetic variability that drives selection. Is it any wonder that feminists are dismissive of such evolutionary approaches? That many have sought to ignore the contribution that evolutionary theory can make to our understanding of women? But have women really just been bit part actors in the whole story of evolution? Have they not played their own role in ensuring their reproductive success? In this highly accessible and thought provoking new book, Anne Campbell challenges this passive role of women in evolutionary theory, and redresses the current bias within evolutionary writing. Guiding us through the basics of evolutionary theory, she proposes that women have forged their own strategic way forward, acting through their own forms of competition, rivalry, aggression, and sexuality, to shape their own destiny. Throwing down a challenge to feminist theories, Campbell argues that evolutionary theory can indeed teach us plenty about the development of the female mind - we just need to get it right. This is an important book that will force others to re-evaluate their own assumptions about the evolution of the female mind.
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Sixty females and 60 males between 10 and 15 years of age were interviewed about difficulties in current and past close same-sex friendships. Based on prior studies, it was hypothesized that females' closest same-sex friendships would be more fragile than those of males. Analyses comparing only the closest same-sex friendship of the two sexes demonstrated that females' current friendships were of a shorter duration, that females were more distressed than males when imagining the potential termination of their friendships, that more females' than males' friends already had done something to hurt the friendship, and that females had more former friendships that had ended than males had. Possible reasons are discussed for the greater vulnerability of this type of relationship for females.
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Results from 2 experimental studies suggest that self-protection and mate-search goals lead to the perception of functionally relevant emotional expressions in goal-relevant social targets. Activating a self-protection goal led participants to perceive greater anger in Black male faces (Study 1) and Arab faces (Study 2), both out-groups heuristically associated with physical threat. In Study 2, participants' level of implicit Arab-threat associations moderated this bias. Activating a mate-search goal led male, but not female, participants to perceive more sexual arousal in attractive opposite-sex targets (Study 1). Activating these goals did not influence perceptions of goal-irrelevant targets. Additionally, participants with chronic self-protective and mate-search goals exhibited similar biases. Findings are consistent with a functionalist, motivation-based account of interpersonal perception.
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We studied indirect victimization from an evolutionary perspective by examining links between this type of victimization and several indicators of attractiveness (past sexual behavior, dating frequency and physical appearance). Two thousand three hundred and nineteen (56% female) students (ages 13-18) from a region of southern Ontario, Canada, completed self-report measures of indirect victimization, physical appearance, dating frequency, recent sexual behavior (number of partners in previous month) and past sexual behavior (number of lifetime partners minus number of partners in previous month) as well as indexes of depression, aggression and attachment security, which were used to control for psychosocial maladjustment. Consistent with an evolutionary framework, physical appearance interacted significantly with gender, wherein attractive females were at greater risk for indirect victimization, whereas for males physical attractiveness was a protective factor, reducing risk of victimization. Physical appearance also interacted with grade, being inversely related to indirect victimization for younger adolescents and having a nonsignificant association with victimization for older youth. Finally, recent sexual behavior was associated with increased risk of indirect victimization for older adolescents only, which we discussed with regard to peer perceptions of promiscuity and short-term mating strategies. These findings have important implications for the development of interventions designed to reduce peer victimization, in that victims of indirect aggression may represent a rather broad, heterogeneous group, including attractive individuals with no obvious signs of maladjustment.
Gender and emotion: Social psychological perspectives. Studies in emotion and social interaction
  • A M Kring
Kring, A. M. (2000). Gender and anger. In A. H. Fischer (Ed.), Gender and emotion: Social psychological perspectives. Studies in emotion and social interaction (pp. 211-231). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.