Examining sex-differences in emotion and decision making

Varsha Singh

Overview

Sex differences are routine reported in a widely used decision making task. This paper reports similarities and differences between the sexes, and explores valence and motor-related hemispheric lateralization as a potential contributor to sex-differences in decision making.

Summary

Cognitive differences and similarities between males and females remain poorly understood. Therefore, results of sex-specific analysis in tasks that are widely used across different cultures/countries, and the factors that contribute to similarities and differences between the two sexes might further our understanding of broader issue such as socioeconomic equality.

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Author Comments

Dr.  Varsha Singh, PhD
Dr. Varsha Singh, PhD
Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi
Associate Proffesor
Clinical Psychology & Cognitive-Affective Sciences
New Delhi | India
As a female researcher, writing this article was challenging as well as fulfilling in ways that triggered tremendous intellectual growth. It lead to cross-disciplinary collaborations with neuroscientist and neurobiologist addressing the extent to which biological differences might contribute to cognitive differences. It also brought colleagues together, and prompted sex-specific analysis of the task data from three countries that differ in gender-equity (India, Germany, USA). Dr. Varsha Singh, PhD

Sex-Differences, Handedness, and Lateralization in the Iowa Gambling Task.

Authors:
Dr.  Varsha Singh, PhD
Dr. Varsha Singh, PhD
Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi
Associate Proffesor
Clinical Psychology & Cognitive-Affective Sciences
New Delhi | India

Front Psychol 2016 31;7:708. Epub 2016 May 31.

Humanities and Social Science, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi New Delhi, India.

In a widely used decision-making task, the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), male performance is observed to be superior to that of females, and is attributed to right lateralization (i.e., right hemispheric dominance). It is as yet unknown whether sex-differences in affect and motor lateralization have implications for sex-specific lateralization in the IGT, and specifically, whether sex-difference in performance in the IGT changes with right-handedness or with affect lateralization (decision valence, and valence-directed motivation). The present study (N = 320; 160 males) examined the effects of right-handedness (right-handedness vs. non-right-handedness) as a measure of motor lateralization, decision valence (reward vs. punishment IGT), and valence-directedness of task motivation (valence-directed vs. non-directed instructions), as measures of affective lateralization on IGT decision making. Analyses of variance revealed that both male and female participants showed valence-induced inconsistencies in advantageous decision-making; however, right-handed females made more disadvantageous decisions in a reward IGT. These results suggest that IGT decision-making may be largely right-lateralized in right-handed males, and show that sex and lateralized differences (motor and affect) have implications for sex-differences in IGT decision-making. Implications of the results are discussed with reference to lateralization and sex-differences in cognition.

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Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00708DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4885871PMC
June 2016
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