Presentation Title

A Study of Gender Differences in Emotional Processing and Social Functioning Between Natural Sciences vs. Humanities/Social Sciences University Students

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 269

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

There is a general agreement that individuals with autism-spectrum disorders show impairments in identifying emotional valence and social functioning. Recent studies have suggested that autism spectrum disorder (nonclinical samples with subtle traits of autism) may be more prevalent in individuals who pursue a career in either the field of Natural Sciences compared to those in the field of Humanities or Social Sciences. However, it is unclear whether healthy individuals with traits of autism experience similar deficits in emotional processing and social adjustment. The current ongoing study compares a broad scope of emotional processes and social functioning between 40 students (26 men and 14 women) in the Natural Sciences (NS) versus 79 students (20 men and 59 women) in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). We further explore whether other pertinent factors, such as gender, would reflect these group differences. Participants' viewed a series of 60 positive, neutral, and negative images selected from the International Affective Picture System, and then identified emotional valence and arousal using the Self-Assessment Manikin. In addition, participants’ emotional awareness was assessed using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale and emotional creativity was measured using the Emotional Creativity Inventory. Social functioning was assessed using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient. Interim analyses using a series of 2(Group) x 2(Gender) Analyses of Variance (ANOVAs) revealed a trend-level Group by Gender interaction in emotional awareness, (F(1, 115)=3.66, p=.058, Eta-squared =.027), with NS students showing poorer emotional awareness compared to the HSS students (p=.0001). Interestingly, NS female students showed a greater impairment in emotional awareness than their NS male counterparts (p=.041). However, this group effect was not found between HSS female students and their HSS male counterparts (p=0.38). In conclusion, these preliminary findings may potentially increase our understanding of the role of emotional awareness in different groups of healthy individuals.

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Nov 12th, 2:15 PM Nov 12th, 2:30 PM

A Study of Gender Differences in Emotional Processing and Social Functioning Between Natural Sciences vs. Humanities/Social Sciences University Students

HUB 269

There is a general agreement that individuals with autism-spectrum disorders show impairments in identifying emotional valence and social functioning. Recent studies have suggested that autism spectrum disorder (nonclinical samples with subtle traits of autism) may be more prevalent in individuals who pursue a career in either the field of Natural Sciences compared to those in the field of Humanities or Social Sciences. However, it is unclear whether healthy individuals with traits of autism experience similar deficits in emotional processing and social adjustment. The current ongoing study compares a broad scope of emotional processes and social functioning between 40 students (26 men and 14 women) in the Natural Sciences (NS) versus 79 students (20 men and 59 women) in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). We further explore whether other pertinent factors, such as gender, would reflect these group differences. Participants' viewed a series of 60 positive, neutral, and negative images selected from the International Affective Picture System, and then identified emotional valence and arousal using the Self-Assessment Manikin. In addition, participants’ emotional awareness was assessed using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale and emotional creativity was measured using the Emotional Creativity Inventory. Social functioning was assessed using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient. Interim analyses using a series of 2(Group) x 2(Gender) Analyses of Variance (ANOVAs) revealed a trend-level Group by Gender interaction in emotional awareness, (F(1, 115)=3.66, p=.058, Eta-squared =.027), with NS students showing poorer emotional awareness compared to the HSS students (p=.0001). Interestingly, NS female students showed a greater impairment in emotional awareness than their NS male counterparts (p=.041). However, this group effect was not found between HSS female students and their HSS male counterparts (p=0.38). In conclusion, these preliminary findings may potentially increase our understanding of the role of emotional awareness in different groups of healthy individuals.