Sex Differences in Positive Emotions within Appraisal Theory
The psychological study of positive emotions is a relatively new and underdeveloped area of inquiry. This study examines sex differences in the understanding, experience, and expression of positive emotions. Our participants (N=108) responded to multiple questionnaires and surveys looking at affect, emotional differentiation abilities, appraisal style, emotional elicitors, and language surrounding positive emotions. Women and men exhibited equal ability to differentiate positive emotions. Women’s positive emotion experiences were more tied into social experiences than were men’s. Men experienced pride in response to a broader array of experiences than did women. Taken together, our findings suggest that there are some significant differences in the ways that women and men understand, experience, and express positive emotions.