Gender differences in personality traits across cultures: robust and surprising findings

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Aug;81(2):322-331. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.81.2.322.


Secondary analyses of Revised NEO Personality Inventory data from 26 cultures (N = 23,031) suggest that gender differences are small relative to individual variation within genders; differences are replicated across cultures for both college-age and adult samples, and differences are broadly consistent with gender stereotypes: Women reported themselves to be higher in Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Warmth, and Openness to Feelings, whereas men were higher in Assertiveness and Openness to Ideas. Contrary to predictions from evolutionary theory, the magnitude of gender differences varied across cultures. Contrary to predictions from the social role model, gender differences were most pronounced in European and American cultures in which traditional sex roles are minimized. Possible explanations for this surprising finding are discussed, including the attribution of masculine and feminine behaviors to roles rather than traits in traditional cultures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Europe
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory
  • Personality*
  • Peru
  • Sex Factors
  • United States