Evidence has verified that females have a higher capability and ease than men to express their emotions. Similarly, previous studies have shown that women have higher traits of gratitude compared to those of men. For this experiment, gratitude is defined as the acknowledgement and appreciation of an altruistic action. It has been proved that men are less likely to feel and express gratitude as they weight more profoundly what an action should be thanked for. Gratitude is associated with dependency for some people; it is highly probable that men regard gratitude and courtesy as vulnerability and weakness, which threatens their masculinity and social standing that has been enforced by early age gender roles. A study in Peru concentrating in gratitude depending on personality factors, determined there are in fact significant differences in the levels of gratitude according to gender and women have higher levels of it. The purpose of this experiment is to measure which gender is most likely to respond with an appreciation token towards an altruistic action.Materials and Methods
This experiment took place in various buildings in The University of Texas at Austin. One hundred and forty students, seventy male and seventy female, took part in it. The materials used for this experiment were the doors from seven different locations around campus and the Notes application on the iPhone 8+. Seven different trials were conducted during four consecutive days and data was collected. The method I used to open the doors was wait until a time when classes would be over and open the door from the building as students were coming out, I tried to make it seem as if I was waiting for someone to come out of the building. My expression was neutral and I avoided eye contact with the students. In each location I observed the behavior of ten female and ten male students respectively.
As they went out I recorded on my phone the amount of students that said ‘thank you’ and the amount of students that did not thank me.
The results from this observational experiment were that females are more prone to say thank you than men. In the data table below the results are shown. The table includes the location, time, date, and gender of the students that either thanked me or did not thank me.
The results of my observational experiment corroborate with what I had hypothesized in my proposal. Overall women were more prone to say thank you towards simple actions such as opening the door to them. This experiment sustained older studies that found that males show less appreciation in social situations than females because gratefulness is cultivated since childhood and girls have that virtue more emphasized in their growth than boys. Interchangeable results have been found in different global studies as well. There was just one location from all seven in which males said ‘thank you’ more than females, this location was RLM (Robert Lee Moore Hall).
One thing that I could not control and may have affected my experiment is that whenever people would leave buildings in groups or pairs and had a conversation, only one person would thank me as the other continued talking. Also as stated in my introduction men are less likely to thank a woman as they may feel their masculinity could be diminished so that could be another factor on why the ratio of men thanking me was lower. However females did thank me much more frequently than men and this result is consistent with the study that women’s social awareness in higher than that of males. Even though my experiment worked, there needs to be more detailed studies that evaluate gratitude among gender in a greater depth.