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Sex differences in emotional concordance


Emotions involve response synchronization across experiential, physiological, and behavioral systems, referred to as concordance or coherence. Women are thought to be more emotionally aware and expressive than men and may therefore display stronger response concordance; however, research on this topic is scant. Using a random-order film-average design, we assessed concordance among experiential (arousal, valence), autonomic (electrodermal activity, heart rate, preejection period, respiratory sinus arrhythmia), respiratory (respiratory rate), and behavioral (corrugator and zygomatic electromyography) responses to 15 two-minute films varying in valence and arousal. We then calculated for each participant and pair of measures a within-subject correlation index using averages from the 15 films. Pronounced individual concordance of up to 0.9 was observed. Arousal-physiology and valence-behavior concordances were particularly pronounced. Women displayed higher concordance than men for almost all pairs of measures. Findings indicate stronger psychophysiological response coupling in women than men and provide novel insights into affective differences between the sexes.

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