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Gender Differences in the Language for Emotions

By SHELLEY CHING-YU HSIEH

Abstract

[[abstract]]Emotion terms, such as happiness and anger, are used naturally to express our semantic emotion knowledge, i.e., the mental lexicon of basic emotion terms. This study aims to compare gender-related differences in the use of emotion terms and the correspondence between semantic emotion knowledge and episodic emotion experience, with the method of testing participant’s episodic emotion experience (basic knowledge being made up of whatever happens to be the most frequent and impressive in everyday experience). Thirty participants are recruited for two list tasks, a Free Listing task and a Recent Experience task. The results show that (1) for both men and women the most salient emotion words present an antonymic pair—sadness-happiness. (2) Some of the gender-based differences are morphological. The female participants tend to use adjectives and verbs while most of the words mentioned by the males are nouns. (3) Women tend to mention objects or issues associated with emotions while men prefer to keep within the emotion category. Finally, when men recall their past experience, they tend to use positive words while women use both positive as well as negative words

Topics: cognitive salience; emotion; genderepisodic emotion; semantic emotion knowledge.
Publisher: Asia University
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:localhost:310904400/2124
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