Psychology Sex differences and personality

Topics: Gender, Psychology, Personality psychology Pages: 8 (1707 words) Published: September 25, 2014


Sex Differences and Personality Traits

Abstract
The aim of the study was to investigate whether there was an association between sex differences and certain personality traits. It was hypothesised that Females would have higher levels of Neuroticism (Personality Trait) than males. A second hypothesis was proposed that Males would have a higher Extraversion (Personality trait) levels than females. A sample size consisting of 263 University of Tasmania students undertaking first year Psychology, voluntarily took part in the study as part of the course requirement, with 166 of the participants being female. The study was a survey which was directed online, analysing each of the five personality traits as measured by the HEXACO-60 (Lee and Ashton, 2009) and anxiety by the DASS-21 (Lovibond and Lovibond, 1995). Consistent with both of the hypothesis, it was found in this study, that males had higher levels of Extroversion than females. It was also found that females had higher levels of Neuroticism than males. These results suggest in order for the previous hypothesises to be consistent, there needs to be more studies conducted on first year psychology students from other universities around the country, participating in the exact surveys in the same conditions.

Introduction
(Weisberg.J.W, DeYoung.G.C, Hirsh.B.J, 2011) stated that males and females have different biological roles when it comes to propagation of the species. How much they differ psychologically is a more controversial question. Whether the underlying causes of psychological gender differences are evolutionary or socio-cultural, understanding how males and females differ in the ways in which they think, feel, and behave can shed light on the human condition. The study of personality in this case is particularly useful in attempting to examine psychological differences between the two sexes. Personality can be defined as the psychological assets which contribute to an individual’s character, this includes the individual’s patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving (Cervone & Pervin, 2010). A noticeable theory of personality is Costa and McCrae’s (1992) five-factor model, which includes the five broad dimensions of extraversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. The study of personality is particularly useful in attempting to examine psychological differences between genders. Personality is often conceptualized as the extent to which someone displays high or low levels of specific traits. (Fleeson and Gallagher, 2009) stated that ‘traits’ are the consistent patterns of thoughts, feelings, motives, and behaviours that a person exhibits across situations That is, someone who scores high on a trait will exhibit psychological states related to that trait more often and to a greater extent than individuals who score low on that trait. (George & Jones, 2012) defined the personality traits, in particular neuroticism and extraversion. Neuroticism was defined as someone having high levels of negative thinking and states of distress. George and Jones (2012) then defined extroversion on the other end of the scale, saying it is a state of positive thinking, as if someone that predisposes experiences as a positive one. (Lynna. R& Martin.T, 1997) conducted a study in 37 countries examining personality traits with sex differences. Supporting the current study in this essay, their results suggested that women obtained higher means than men on neuroticism in the 37 countries, and men obtained higher levels of extraversion in 30 countries. Gender differences in personality traits are often characterized in terms of which gender has higher scores on that trait, on average. For example, women are often found to be more agreeable than men (Feingold, 1994; Costa et al., 2001). This means that women, on average, are more nurturing, tender-minded, and altruistic more often and to a greater extent...

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George, M, J., & Jones, R, G. (2012). Understanding and managing organizational behaviour. Pg. 69, 70, Chapter 2.
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Gender differences in personality across the ten aspects of the Big Five, Yanna J. Weisberg, Colin G. DeYoung and Jacob B. Hirsh, Frontiers in Psychology, published 01 August, 2011, DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00178
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