Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fight-Flight and Tend-Befriend

Studies by Shelley E. Taylor, et al: Males are more likely to use physical aggression in struggles for power within a hierarchy or to defend territory against external enemies. Females reliably show less physical aggression than males but they display as much or more indirect aggression in the form of gossip, rumor-spreading, and enlisting the cooperation of a third party in undermining an acquaintance. When confronted with acute stress, both males and females may initiate a fight-flight response. Behaviorally, however, females appear to move rather quickly to a tend-befriend pattern. Tending involves nurturing activities designed to protect the self and offspring that promote safety and reduce distress; befriending is the creation and maintenance of social networks that may aid in this process.

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