Men and women have large differences in personality, according to a new study published Jan. 4 in the online journal PLoS ONE.
The existence of such differences, and their extent, has been a subject of much debate, but the authors of the new report, led by Marco Del Giudice of the University of Turin in Italy, describe a new method for measuring and analyzing personality differences that they argue is more accurate than previous methods.
The researchers used personality measurements from more than 10,000 people, approximately half men and half women. The personality test included 15 personality scales, including such traits as warmth, sensitivity, and perfectionism. When comparing men's and women's overall personality profiles, which take multiple traits into account, very large differences between the sexes became apparent, even though differences look much smaller when each trait is considered separately. However, the study indicates that previous methods to measure such differences have been inadequate, both because they focused on one trait at a time and because they failed to correct for measurement error.
The authors conclude that the true extent of sex differences in human personality has therefore been consistently underestimated.
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Del Giudice M, Booth T, Irwing P (2012) The Distance Between Mars and Venus: Measuring Global Sex Differences in Personality. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29265.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029265