Sex differences in behaviour—has the thrill gone?

September 2, 2013
Sex differences in behaviour—has the thrill gone?
Dr Kate Cross

Men have become less willing to engage in physically challenging activities over the past 35 years, according to a new study by the University of St Andrews.

The findings, by a team led by Dr Kate Cross of the University's School of Psychology and Neuroscience, support the argument that some in behaviour have declined in response to recent cultural changes.

The meta-analysis of studies on sensation-seeking, is published in the journal Scientific Reports today and also involved co-authors Dr De-Laine Cyrenne and Dr Gillian Brown.

Sensation-seeking is a reflecting the desire to pursue novel or intense experiences, even if risks are involved, and is measured using questionnaires, such as the Sensation Seeking Scale, version V (SSS-V).

In the late 1970s, men answering the SSS-V were more likely than women to say that they would like to try parachuting, scuba diving or . However, over the past decades, men's thrill and adventure-seeking scores on this same questionnaire have declined, and average male scores are now more similar to average female scores.

Dr Cross said: "The decline in the sex difference in thrill and adventure-seeking scores could reflect declines in average , which might have reduced people's interest in physically challenging activities. Alternatively, the questions were designed in the 1970s so could now be out-of-date."

Skiing, for instance, may no longer be viewed as a novel or intense activity.

The study also showed that sex differences in other measures have not changed across time. For example, men consistently report higher average scores than women for disliking dull or repetitive activities, and for enjoying challenging .

These stable sex differences could reflect sex differences in predispositions that favour novelty-seeking in men, in combination with that continue to value greater risk-taking in men than in women.

Explore further: Obese men and women report less satisfying sex life

More information: dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep02486

Related Stories

Obese men and women report less satisfying sex life

May 2, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Obese men and women seeking weight-loss treatment report significantly less satisfaction with their sex life than the general population, and women report even lower satisfaction than men, according to ...

Women less likely to die after TAVI than men

September 2, 2013

Women are 25 percent less likely to die one year after TAVI than men, according to research presented at the ESC Congress today by Dr. Mohammad Sherif from Germany. The findings suggest that TAVI might be the preferred treatment ...

Recommended for you

Is neuroticism fueled by overthinking?

August 27, 2015

Isaac Newton was a classic neurotic. He was a brooder and a worrier, prone to dwelling on the scientific problems before him as well as his childhood sins. But Newton also had creative breakthroughs—thoughts on physics ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.