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, 77 (6), 748-60

Understanding Misunderstanding: A Study of Sex Differences in Meaning Attribution

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Understanding Misunderstanding: A Study of Sex Differences in Meaning Attribution

Ira Trofimova. Psychol Res.

Abstract

There are biologically based sex differences in verbal abilities and in neuropsychological systems of verbal processing. Measurement of observable behaviour, however, does not say much about sex differences in the internal, semantic processing of verbal material. The present study, which was conducted in Canada, China and Russia, investigated sex differences in connotative meaning attribution to the most common concepts using an object scale symmetry in the choice of the nouns and bipolar adjectives (projective semantic method). The results showed that males had a tendency to estimate reality- and work-related concepts more negatively and social- and physical attractors more positively than women. The paper hypothesizes that at the level of the most fundamental semantic processing men favour more exceptional objects than women, and women favour more predictable objects, including rules and routines.

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