There’s always been an assumption that women are more in tune with their emotions than men. In fact few would disagree. The emotionally charged man will likely be in the minority. No offense, boys.
Today, we learn of a new study that, casting aside any genetic predispositions, could explain why women are more emotionally intelligent than their male counterparts. It’s down to how mothers speak to their daughters using more emotional language than they do with their sons, according to The British Journal of Developmental Psychology.
What’s more, the study finds that mothers converse using more emotional words and content than fathers, which, they reckon, could serve only to unconsciously reinforce gender stereotypes from a young age.
Researchers examined 65 Spanish mothers and fathers along with their four and six year-old children by asking them to take part in a storytelling task and a conversation about past experiences. They watched closely for the parents’ use of language and the number of words associated with various emotions. Interestingly, the little girls were found to display a higher level of emotional literacy than the parents’ sons with words such as ‘happy’, ‘sad’ and ‘worried’ being used quite frequently.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Harriet Tenenbaum of the University of Surrey says:
“Our study suggests that parent-child conversations are gendered, with mothers talking more expressively to their daughters than their sons… This inevitably leads to girls growing up more attuned to their emotions then boys. Having this edge to be more expressive and cope well with emotions may matter more than ever in the workplace, as more companies are starting to recognise the advantages of high emotional intelligence when it comes to positions such as sales, teams and leadership.”
What do you think, is it a case of nurture over nature or is it a bit of both?