Classical Texts in Psychology
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The Mental Traits of Sex
[p. 136] CHAPTER VIII.
THE affective processes were investigated from two points of view:
A. The physiological expression of affective processes as revealed in circulation and respiration.
B. The introspective account of affective processes given in response to questions on personality of the following classes:
1. Questions on age, health, and nationality.A. THE PHYSIOLOGICAL EXPRESSION OF AFFECTIVE PROCESSES AS REVEALED IN CIRCULATION AND RESPIRATION.
2. Questions on sensory experiences.
3. Questions on methods of rest and recreation.
4. Questions on the individual aspects of personality.
5. Questions on the social aspects of personality.
6. Questions on intellectual interests, methods of work, and beliefs.
For investigating the changes in circulation and breathing in response to the affective processes Hallion and Comte's air plethysmograph (32) and Bert's rubber-capped metal respirator were used respectively. These instruments were used simultaneously, writing side by side on a smoked drum.
The object of the experiment was not explained to the subject. He was directed to sit still and keep his eyes shut. A normal curve was first taken to show the characteristic reaction of the individual in a state of repose. When this had been obtained vari-[p. 137]ous stimuli were applied. Agreeable and disagreeable odors were given him to smell; he was touched on the face with a piece of cold metal; a loud sound was produced by dropping a heavy object on the floor; his hand was pricked with a pin; and to show the effect of mental application he was given problems in addition and multiplication to solve. The curve was watched constantly, and if any marked changes occured in it during the interval between stimulations, the subject was told to remember what he was thinking about at that time and report later.
In the belief that the significant features of the changes in pulse and breathing were to be sought rather in the amount of the change than in its form or direction (2) the results were formulated on the basis of the violence of the changes in the plethysmograph and the respirator curves, due either to spontaneous emotion, or to the stimuli applied. Table XIV gives the results:
B. THE INTROSPECTIVE ACCOUNT OF AFFECTIVE PROCESSES GIVEN IN RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS ON PERSONALITY.
The series of questions on personality was designed to cover all questions of interest with regard to an individual which do not lend themselves to experimental treatment, or at least which could not be treated experimentally in the present series of tests. The questions centered chiefly upon the affective consciousness -- upon temperament and disposition, likes and dislikes, and interest. They included also whatever questions of fact with regard to the individual's history seemed important.
The evaluation of the answers to the questions which dealt merely with facts of individual history presents no serious difficulty. The answers to questions on the nature of the individual's affective consciousness, on the other hand, are extremely difficult to evaluate. The difficulty is the one involved in all questionnaires. There are at least two important sources of error which the experimenter has no means of controlling or measuring. The first is the fact that many individuals have not the skill to interpret carefully and accurately if they will; the second is the fact that many individuals will not be, or cannot be, perfectly honest in answering questions on personality. What we are sure of getting in answer to such questions, is [p. 139] not so much true statements with regard to the personality of the individual, as the individual's reaction toward the question asked. The answer will approach the truth in proportion as the individual is skilled in introspection and honestly endeavors to tell the truth. How far these conditions were fulfilled in the present case it is impossible to say; but it may be said that the conditions of the present questionnaire were as favorable as possible for their fulfilment. The individuals questioned had all had some training in psychology and were therefore more skilled than average persons in introspection. They had all voluntarily lent themselves to the test out of interest in it, and would for that reason be likely to endeavor to be honest. Their judgment was entirely unbiased by any knowledge of the ultimate purpose of the test. The questions were asked one by one by the experimenter and answered orally by the subject. Each question could thus be explained whenever necessary, and the answer discussed. The general impression of the experimenter was that the subjects were really interested in the questions and tried to give honest answers.
The questions asked dealt with the following subjects: (1) age, health, and nationality; (2) sensory experiences; (3) methods of rest and recreation; (4) individual aspects of personality; (5) social aspects of personality; and (6) intellectual interests, methods of work, and beliefs.
1. Questions on age, health, and nationality. -- The first set of questions on personality was designed to bring out the degree of homogeneity of the material for this investigation. The questions were as follows:[p. 140]
1. What is your age?The ages of the subjects are represented in the curves of Fig. 81. The age curves for men and women coincide very closely, twenty-two of each falling between the limits of nineteen and twenty-three years. Three of each sex were twenty-five years old or more. Both curves culminate at twenty-one years. The answers to the question on health are represented in Table XV, which shows four more women than men in the poor and medium sections, and four more men than women in the good and excellent sections. There were, however, more women than men who graded [p. 141]
2. What is the state of your health, poor, medium, good, or excellent?
3. Are there any physical abnormalities of your sense organs of which you are aware?
4. Do you consider yourself of a nervous temperament?
5. What is your own nationality and that of your parents? Of what nationality were your ancestors?
The number of physical abnormalities of the sense organs reported is summed in Table XVI. The records of the two sexes coincide almost exactly.
It appears from the table that the ancestry of the great majority of the subjects, both men and women, was English, Welsh, Scotch, or Irish. After the British nationalities, in order of representation in the table,[p. 143] comes the German, and after that the French. Other nationalities are represented only in scattered instances.
2. Questions on sensory experiences. -- The questions on sensory experiences were as follows:
1. Is any one of your senses notably keen or notably dull?The answers to the first four questions are embodied in Table XX. The number of subjects who had received special training of the senses is so [p. 144] nearly identical for the two sexes that training cannot be held responsible for the sense-differences shown by this series of experiments. Fifteen subjects of each sex were without any training, and ten subjects of each sex had
2. Are you particularly sensitive to impressions derived from any one sense?
3. Do you derive special pain or pleasure from the sense-impressions of any one sense-organ?
4. Have any of your sense-organs had special training?
5. Do musical tones suggest colors to you?
6. Are letters, words, or names colored to you?
7. Have you any color associations with smells or tastes?
Pseudo-chromæsthesias proved to be much more frequent among the women than among the men; there were only twelve women who reported none, while there were twenty such men. Among the thirteen women who reported pseudo-chromæsthesias the color association was made in nine cases with musical tones, in four with letters or words, in two with tastes, and in four with odors. None of the color associations of the men were at all fully developed. Of the five who reported them one said it was a discarded habit of which he had not been conscious for several years. Among the other four there were two cases of color association with tones, one with letters, two with taste, and one with smell. Here again we find evidence that visual experience is more important in the consciousness of women than in that of men.
3. Questions on methods of rest and recreation. -- The questions on methods of rest and recreation were as follows:[p. 146]
1. What way of resting after intellectual work do you prefer?The answers to question 1 are presented in Table XXI. In cases where two or more methods of resting were equally enjoyed by the same subject, all were counted. The difference between the sexes is most apparent in the relative numbers of men and women who preferred sleep and outdoor exercise. The other methods of rest named in the table were about equally prized by men and women.
2. Arrange the following employments in the order in which they give you the most pure pleasure: reading, the theater, the opera, concerts, lectures, social gatherings, outdoor sports, indoor games.
It appears from Table XXII that the men's tastes were more evenly distributed than the women's. The women's columns show more large groups and more zeros than the men's.
The order in which the women as a whole and the men as a whole esteemed the amusements in question is given in Table XXIII. From this table it appears that the amusements fall into two groups, each of which was held in the same relative esteem by both the men and the women, though the order of the [p. 148] amusements within the group differs for the two sexes. The first group consists of reading, the theater, the opera, and outdoor sports; the second of social gatherings, concerts, lectures, and indoor games. The only marked difference in the order of amusements in the two columns of Table XXIII is in the places assigned to the opera and to outdoor sports, which stand respectively first and fourth in the women's list and fourth and first in the men's. It is surprising that social gatherings are placed so low in both scales and that the men gave them a higher preference than did the women.
4. Questions on the individual aspects of personality. -- The questions on the individual aspects of personality were as follows:
1. Do you consider yourself very emotional?The answers to these questions, with the exception of question 3, are summarized in Table XXIV. The only difference in emotional nature indicated by the answers to the first two questions is a somewhat greater tendency on the part of the women to repress emotions, while the men reported themselves more disposed to express their emotions. In answer to the third question both the men and the women reported trembling as the commonest physical effect of emotion and a tendency to weep as the next commonest. The next in order were rigidity of the muscles and aimless movements in the case of the men, and faintness and weakening in the case of the women. The women mentioned on an average more physical effects of emotion than the men. Whether this fact is due to greater accuracy and completeness on the part of the [p. 150][p. 151]
2. Is your instinct to express emotions or to repress and hide them?
3. What sort of physical expression do violent emotions have?
4. Are you very introspective?
5. Do you do much day-dreaming?[p. 149]
6. Do you ever have illusions, hallucinations, or presentiments?
7. Are you of the impulsive or of the reflective type in action?
8. Do you always give reasons to yourself for your judgments and decisions at the time when you make them, or are they frequently intuitive?
9. Are you very active physically?
10. Are you mechanical? i. e., do you enjoy working with your hands?
11. Have you executive ability? i. e., do you enjoy managing and taking responsibility, and do you succeed when you do?
12. Have you a contented disposition, on the whole?
13. Are you inclined to brood and worry over things which go wrong?
14. Is your impulse to blame yourself if possible, or others if possible, or fate, when things go wrong?
15. Are you very conscientious?
16. Do ethical or aesthetic or religious ideas play the largest part in controlling your acts?
The tendency to introspection (questions 4 and 5) was reported the same for both sexes, except for a slightly greater tendency toward day-dreaming in the [p. 152] case of the women. The question on illusions, hallucinations, and presentiments elicited the fact that presentiments were more frequent among the women, while illusions and hallucinations were more frequent among the men. It is interesting to notice in this connection that all subjects who reported either illusions or hallucinations reported presentiments also. The answers regarding impulsiveness (questions 7 and 8) are grouped almost identically for the two sexes. What little difference there is shows less impulsiveness and more tendency to control by reason on the part of the women -- a result which is in agreement with their greater tendency to repress and control emotion.
The men reported a more marked tendency to physical activity (question 9) than the women, but the women reported a greater taste for working with the hands (question 10). The former report accords with the popular opinion, but the latter is unexpected. In executive ability (question 11) little, if any, difference between the sexes appears. There are more women at both extremes and more men in the middle range.
There were more men than women who were habitually contented (question 12), but the tendency to worry (question 13) was somewhat greater among the men -- a result which seems a little contradictory. The tendency to locate blame for unfortunate events (question 14) is distributed among the various categories in the same proportion for both sexes. The answers to the question on conscientiousness (question 15) coincide almost exactly for the two sexes.
When the last question, as to the nature of the standards of conduct, was asked, it was carefully ex-[p. 153]plained to the subject that the inquiry was whether his decisions about acts were controlled by considering whether or not the act in question was pleasing to God, or by considering whether the act was right or wrong, or by considering whether it was pleasing and proper and fit under the circumstances. Many subjects answered that more than one of these standards governed their decisions. In such cases, if one of the standards was reported predominant, the subject was classified under that standard alone; but if two were reported equally important, the subject was classified as governed by a combined standard. The men and the women are classified under each standard in about the same proportion, though the æsthetic factor appears more frequently in the men's standards and the religious in the women's. The ethical factor seems equally important to both sexes. The total number of times each of the three standards was mentioned, as either primary or secondary, by the men and the women appears in Table XXV.
5. Question an social aspects of personality. -- The questions on the social aspects of personality were as follows:
1. Are your interests in life centered more largely in your relations with people, or in your intellectual and practical pursuits?The summary of the answers to these questions (except the answer to question 18) is given in Table XXVI. The general tenor of the answers is to show that social relationships are more important to the men than to the women. A greater number of the men than of the women reported that they were more keenly interested in their relations with people than in [p. 155]
2. Are you sensitive about other people's opinion of you?
3. Do you consider yourself independent in making decisions or are you influenced by the view of others?
4. Do you like to be much alone, or do you desire companionship most of the time?
5. Do you enjoy conversation particularly?
6. Do you enjoy the society of men or of women better?
7. Have you many friends?
8. Have you many intimate friends?
9. Are the majority of your friends men or women?
10. Are you affectionate?
11. Are you sympathetic?
12. Are you demonstrative in affection?
13. Do you attach much importance to relationships, i. e., do you feel under obligation to like a person or to do him favors merely because he is related to you?
14. Are you socially timid?
15. Are you physically timid?
16. Are you frank?
17. Are you easily embarrassed?
18. How does embarrassment show itself?
19. Are you curious about affairs that are not of immediate interest to you?
More women than men reported themselves easily embarrassed, but the men as a whole reported a greater number of physical effects of embarrassment than the women. For both sexes the commonest effect was blushing and the next some departure from the usual habit of speech. Of these modifications of speech unusual reticence was most frequent in both sexes; getting the tongue twisted or hesitating came next, and unusual talkativeness next Forgetting words and making aimless movements were reported an equal number of times by both sexes. Feeling hot and perspiring were reported frequently by men, but not by women.
6. Questions on intellectual interests, methods of work, and beliefs. -- The questions on intellectual interests, methods of work, and beliefs were as follows:
1. What lines of study have interested you most?
2. What branches have you found easiest?
3. What branches have you found hardest?[p. 158]
4. In what departments have you done your best work?
5. Have you specialized, and, if so, in what department?
6. Have you a number-form, or diagrams for the days of the week or months of the year?
7. What sort of imagery predominates in your thinking?
8. Do you have a schedule for your hours of study, or do you arrange each day as it comes?
9. How large a proportion of your free time do you spend in study?
10. Do you derive real enjoyment from the study itself, or is it only a means to an end -- a necessary drudgery?
11. Have you decided on your career in life? If so, is it to be practical, intellectual, or artistic?
12. Have you strong religious beliefs?
13. Do you adhere to the doctrines of any one church?
14. Have you any belief at all in (a) spiritualism, (b) telepathy, or (c) Christian science?
15. Are you at all influenced by omens or presentiments?
16. Have you any superstitions?[p. 159][p. 160]
The most striking thing about this table is the general uniformity in the answers. Both the men and the women reported philosophy and science as the subjects of greatest interest, languages as the easiest and the one in which best work had been done, and mathematics as the hardest. Science, philosophy, and languages occupy closely corresponding positions in the tables of the men and women throughout. The only marked difference in the amount of interest in the various studies reported by the two appears in the greater interest of the women in English. Mathematics was reported as the hardest subject by twice as many men as women, while more of the women than of the men found it easy and reported good work in it. History, while equally interesting to both sexes, appears easier for the men. It is interesting to note that in both cases the subjects which were easiest were also those in which best work was being done. This correspondence is somewhat closer in the case of the women. The studies found easiest by the greatest number of women were also those in which the greatest number of them were specializing -- a statement which is not true of the men. The number who had done no specializing was about the same in both sexes.
The outcome of these questions is interesting in its bearing on the test for general information (chap. vii, sec. D). It goes to show that the individuals used for that test were really comparable in amount of training and in interests.[p. 161]
The answers to the remaining questions under the present head are summarized in Table XXVIII.[p. 162]
The only marked sex-difference revealed by the questions on methods of study (8-10) is that the women on the whole derive more pleasure from the study itself, while to the men it is more likely to be a means to an end. They seem about equally inclined to be systematic in the disposition of time. There is a slight predominance of women with rigid schedules, and of men with flexible schedules. The men report a somewhat larger proportion of free time spent in study than the women -- a result which is contrary to the popular opinion on the subject. The answers regarding the selection of a career indicate chiefly the fact that over half of the women were planning to teach -- an occupation which they classed as intellectual -- while about the same number of men were preparing for courses in either law or medicine -- professions which are classified as intellectual and practical. There were none who expected to devote themselves to art in any form.
The questions on beliefs (12-16) revealed a somewhat greater tendency on the part of the women to have strong religious beliefs and to be affected by omens and superstitions ; and, on the part of the men, a more marked tendency to believe in spiritualism, telepathy, and Christian science.
SUMMARY OF OTHER EXPERIMENTAL WORK ON AFFECTIVE PROCESSES.
Before bringing together what little experimental material there is on the subject of the affective aspect of consciousness as it appears in men and women, it [p. 164] may be well to emphasize still further the extremely unsatisfactory nature of both methods of investigating affective processes employed in the present work. One of them -- the questionnaire -- is only semi-scientific, while the other -- the method of expression -- has as yet developed no standard for evaluating the results. The mere personal answer to a question about matters of temperament and disposition, or even about intellectual characteristics, is far from approaching the value of a scientific fact. In fact, such personal estimates are peculiarly liable to perversion for obvious reasons. The method of expression, while it holds forth some hope that it may some day lead to the discovery of a constant correlation between affective states and certain involuntary movements -- particularly those of circulation -- has not as yet given us any trustworthy criterion for interpreting results. Recognizing fully the serious criticisms to be passed on the methods employed, the results are given not as scientifically determined facts, but as constituting the only indication of probabilities which we have at present.
The few previous experiments on record regarding the affective processes which have any bearing on the present series relate, first, to synæsthesia; second, to one of the individual aspects of personality; third, to the relative use of visual imagery by men and women; and, fourth, to beliefs.
1. Several experiments on synæsthesia of various forms agree in showing this experience to be more frequent among women than among men. Galton (26) found that number-forms were twice as numerous among women as among men. Chalmers (17) finds number-forms more frequent among female students [p. 165] than among male. Krohn (44) says that the greater number of his cases of pseudo-chromæsthesia were among women. Miss Calkins (14, 15) found that a very high percentage (50) of the women she examined had synæsthesias, but she furnishes no data for a comparison with men.
2. In the data collected at Wellesley College from Wellesley and Harvard students (45) it appeared that a larger proportion of the women examined were inclined to day-dreaming than of the men. This fact accords with the results of question 5 of sec. 4, above.
3. The Columbia University tests (82) included a question as to the kind of mental imagery chiefly employed by each subject. This question, like the same one in the present series (question 7 of sec. 6), revealed no greater use of visual imagery by the women as against the men. Likewise Miss Calkins (12) found practically no difference between men and women in the tendency to visualize numerals. On the other hand Galton (26) came to the conclusion that women have more vivid visual imagery than men. Since his subjects were gathered miscellaneously, they were not as comparable in this respect as university students.
4. Sumner (77) using a questionnaire on belief, found belief in presentiments, omens, and superstitions more prominent among women than among men -- a result in agreement with that of questions 15 and 16 of sec. 6, above.
GENERAL SUMMARY OF EXPERIMENTS ON AFFECTIVE PROCESSES.
The physiological expression of affective processes, as shown in the experiments on circulation and respiration, is more intense in men than in women. As to [p. 166] the character of the affective processes themselves, the most striking thing revealed by the above questions on personality is their close coincidence in both sexes. The realm of feeling is one of those upon which chief stress is laid by those who believe that there are important psychological differences of sex, and yet we find a series of men and a series of women reacting toward questions about the life of feeling in wonderfully similar ways. Nevertheless, a few differences are revealed, some of which confirm certain conclusions suggested by previous experiments of the present series.
Sensory experience in general seems to be somewhat more prominent in the consciousness of women than in that of men. Other investigators agree that synæsthesias occur more frequently in women than in men, and in the present investigation they were found (grouping all forms together) in fifteen women and eight men. This fuller sensory experience of women may be correlated with the fact that their senses as a whole are more highly developed. The greater prominence of visual consciousness among women is especially marked. That women's visual consciousness held this relative position was suggested by their better-developed sense of color, their more frequent use of visual images in memorizing, and their. greater readiness in solving a problem depending on quickness of visual perception. This suggestion receives further confirmation from the fact that a greater number of women than of men report vision as the sensory field which attracts attention most readily, and as the one from which most pleasure and pain are derived. Pseudo-chromæsthesias, number-forms [p. 167] and diagrams for the days of the week and months of the year are also more numerous among women than among men. The pseudo-chromæsthesias may be correlated with the more highly developed color sense of women.
The greater motor ability of men, which was shown by the experiments recorded in chap. ii, may be correlated with the answers to the questions on methods of rest and recreation and the question as to physical activity. More men than, women prefer outdoor exercise as a method of resting after mental work. Men class outdoor sports much higher than do women as a form of amusement. Physical activity is greater among men than among women.
Social consciousness seems to be more prominent in men than in women. Social gatherings are ranked higher, as a form of amusement, by men, and their immediate relations to their fellows seem to be of greater importance to men than to women.
The religious consciousness is more prominent among women than among men. More women than men have strong religious beliefs and regulate their actions by religious standards. Belief in omens, presentiments, and superstitions is also somewhat more prominent among women.
As far as the strength of the emotional nature, the form of its expression, and the degree of impulsiveness in action are concerned, the answers coincide very closely for the sexes. The only difference is that women seem to have a greater tendency to inhibit the expression of emotion and to act from reason rather than from impulse. The tendency to introspection is the same for both sexes. It is somewhat more apt to [p. 168] take the form of day-dreaming among women. The reports on conscientiousness are the same for both. Men are more frank than women, and women are more easily embarrassed than men. In intellectual interests, easiest and hardest branches of study, and methods of work, there are only trifling divergences. Women derive more pleasure from study than men, while men devote somewhat more time to it than women.