Men Less Likely To Share Negative Information Compared To Women, Study Finds

The study report found that men are less eager to share negative information, while there was little difference when it comes to positive news

A new study conducted by a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, Bayes Business School, and Bocconi University has suggested that men are less likely to share negative information and news when compared to their women counterparts.

According to the study report which is now available in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, there was very little difference between men and women when it comes to the sharing of positive news.


Men show greater concern while sharing negative news

The research report revealed that this trend may be due to a greater concern among men over how other people will see them if they share negative information.

During the study, researchers carried out three different experiments with over 1,000 people. In the first experiment, people self-reported times when they felt like they were "dying" to disclose information they knew to others.

The first experiment helped researchers understand that both men and women had a similar urge to share positive information, while women tend to disclose negative information more than men.

Two further experiments were conducted on the back of this finding, and it affirmed the fact that men are less likely to share negative information than women.

"The results from our studies revealed a consistent, and to the best of our knowledge not previously identified, nuanced pattern, wherein the tendency for women to disclose more than men depends crucially on the nature of the information shared. These findings can help make sense of the existing literature, as well as clarify some existing stereotypes, around gender differences in disclosure," said Dr Erin Carbone, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University and first author of the study.

Disclosure patterns vary between men and women

According to the research report, women reported greater satisfaction than men with their own level of disclosure. However, most male participants reported a greater propensity to withhold information about their thoughts and feelings.

"Disclosure is increasingly prevalent and permanent in the digital age. The advent of social media and digital communication channels has enabled unprecedented levels of information sharing, which is accompanied by an array of social and psychological consequences," said Professor Irene Scopelliti, Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Science at Bayes Business School and one of the authors of the study.

She added: "Our results show that gender remains an important fault line when it comes to the desire and propensity to disclose negative information, and men may be differentially advantaged by, or vulnerable to, the consequences of information sharing compared to women."

This article was first published on November 6, 2023