Decision Making And Gender

Here are more ideas on decision making and gender. You can read how men and women participate in group decision making in politics, business and law.

Here we consider how men and women differ in decision making and gender influences of each.


Men more risky!

One study done in the University of California studies why men seemed to engage in more risky behaviors than do women. They examined risky activities in the gambling, health, recreation and social areas. The factors they considered were probability of negative outcomes, severity of potential negative outcomes and enjoyment expected from the risky activities.

They did indeed notice that men were more likely to take risks in the gambling, health and recreation domains but that both would take similar risks in the social domain. Women perceived greater probability and greater severity of negative outcomes, and this was a major factor in their taking less risks.

They also added a fifth category, one with high potential payoff and fixed minor costs. Women were more likely to take risks here, partially because they were more optimistic about the probability of good outcomes.

One possible explanation is what they call 'offspring risk hypothesis'. In evolutionary terms, the more risks that are perceived in the world, the more effective that person will be at keeping their children safe. And human infants are completely dependent for quite a long time relative to other animals, so they require much attention from their carers to keep them from harm.

A second explanation comes from other studies that show that a familiarity with a particular risk means that the perception of risk goes down. It may be that women are more familiar with taking social risks and so the rate of doing so is the same as men.

Financial decision making

Another study examined whether women are more risk averse than men in financial decision making. It is commonly thought that they actually are, but the study showed there was little difference.

When the probabilities for risky payoff were known, there was no difference in decision making and gender. In situations that were very ambiguous, the differences seem to be due to the individuals perception of their own competence and skill level, rather than gender differences.

Medical choices

Many studies have shown that women are less likely to receive organ transplantation as well as other medical procedures. Somewhere there is a difference in the decision making and gender has being considered an important factor.

Further studies have revealed no significant gender differences in hypothetical treatment decisions made by patients. So if the patients are not instrumental in the skewed figures, it's presumed that it is the physicians and their assumptions and stereotypes about patient preference and gender that are causing these results.

Problem Solving and Stereotypes

To find out more about the relationship between decision making and gender and problem solving and stereotypes, read on...

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