One angry woman: Anger expression increases influence for men, but decreases influence for women, during group deliberation

Jessica Salerno, Liana C. Peter-Hagene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigated whether expressing anger increases social influence for men, but diminishes social influence for women, during group deliberation. In a deception paradigm, participants believed they were engaged in a computer-mediated mock jury deliberation about a murder case. In actuality, the interaction was scripted. The script included 5 other mock jurors who provided verdicts and comments in support of the verdicts; 4 agreed with the participant and 1 was a "holdout" dissenter. Holdouts expressed their opinions with no emotion, anger, or fear and had either male or female names. Holdouts exerted no influence on participants opinions when they expressed no emotion or fear. Participants confidence in their own verdict dropped significantly, however, after male holdouts expressed anger. Yet, anger expression undermined female holdouts: Participants became significantly more confident in their original verdicts after female holdouts expressed anger - even though they were expressing the exact same opinion and emotion as the male holdouts. Mediation analyses revealed that participants drew different inferences from male versus female anger, which created a gender gap in influence during group deliberation. The current study has implications for group decisions in general, and jury deliberations in particular, by suggesting that expressing anger might lead men to gain influence, but women to lose influence over others (even when making identical arguments). These diverging consequences might result in women potentially having less influence on societally important decisions than men, such as jury verdicts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-592
Number of pages12
JournalLaw and human behavior
Volume39
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Keywords

  • emotion
  • gender
  • jury decision making
  • persuasion
  • social influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

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