Stress makes men social



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Positive social behavior of stressed men

Men react to stress with positive social behavior, according to the surprising results of a recent study by the research team led by Dr. Bernadette von Dawans and Professor Dr. Markus Heinrichs from the University of Freiburg.

As the scientists report in the journal "Psychological Science", the "fight or flight response in men was generally regarded as the prototypical stress response, both physiologically and in behavior." But their current study had refuted this assumption, write Dawans and colleagues. Similar to women, “men also showed social rapprochement as an immediate consequence of stress,” explained Dr. Bernadette by Dawans. This behavior is explained with the “tend-and-befriend concept” that, in stressful situations, is based on protective (“tend”) and friendship-offering (“befriend”) behavior, according to the University of Freiburg.

Social behavior of stressed men experimentally examined for the first time As part of the current study, the research team, according to the press release from the University of Freiburg, "experimentally examined the social behavior in men under stress for the first time." In addition to the Freiburg psychologists and neuroscientists, the economists Professor Dr. Ernst Fehr from the University of Zurich and Professor Dr. Urs Fischbacher from the University of Konstanz and the psychologist Professor Dr. Clemens Kirschbaum from the Technical University of Dresden participated in the current study. In order to determine the social behavior of men in stressful situations, the scientists developed a special standardized procedure and designed social interaction games with which positive social behavior such as trust or sharing, but also negative social behavior such as punishment, can be measured. 34 volunteer men were initially exposed to a stressful situation in which they were asked to solve demanding arithmetic tasks under time pressure and to deliver a text to an audience. The researchers checked how stressed the test subjects were with this procedure using the pulse and the content of stress hormones in the saliva.

Stressed men show positive social behavior Immediately after going through the stressful situation, the men - like an equally large control group of unstressed test subjects - completed several interaction games with which their social behavior was checked. The test subjects played with a computer program, and were asked whether they trusted the game partner, how they would divide the earned reward between themselves and the partner and whether they would implement a punishment if the computer partner behaved unfairly, even if this was the loss for them of reward means. The results of the experiments prove "that stress triggers socially approximate behavior, which acts as a potent stress processing strategy and also confirms the tendon and friend hypothesis", the researchers write in the article "The social dimension of stress reactivity". According to Dawans and colleagues, the stressed subjects showed significantly more positive social behavior than the participants in the control group, but the negative social behavior remained unaffected by the stress of the subjects, which is surprising, especially since the doctrine that men under stress was too aggressive for almost a hundred years Behavior tend. In fact, in the course of the experiments "stress had no influence on the willingness to show anti-social behavior or to take anti-social risks", says Dr. Dawans, Professor Dr. Heinrichs and colleagues.

Approach behavior in response to stress The research results refute previous theories on behavior of men under stress and suggest that men, like men, place greater emphasis on social ties and mutual support in threatening situations. “Apparently, men also show social approach behavior as immediate Consequence of stress, ”emphasized the Dr. In the course of the trials, the trust and willingness to share increased due to the stressful situation, while the punishment of the game partner, which can be equated with aggressive behavior, remained unaffected. (fp)

Also read about stress:
Talk to yourself to avoid stress
Stress at work leads to a heart attack

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