Women Are More Compassionate Than Men on Facebook, According to Unsurprising New Research

Women Are More Compassionate Than Men on Facebook, According to Unsurprising New Research
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Men and women coexist in the same digital wilderness. But according to a new study, women are more likely to use language like "aww, babe," whereas men are more likely to type things like "Holy fucking shit, America" and "Freedom!" 

Researchers from Stony Brook University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Melbourne in Australia analyzed 10 million Facebook messages of more than 65,000 consenting users — and found that, when it comes to warmth online, men are a little rougher around the edges.

"The language most characteristic of self-identified females was warmer, friendlier and focused on people, whereas self-identified males' most characteristic language was more socially distant, disagreeable and focused on objects," according to the study, which is published in PLOS ONE. 

Though women are warmer, they're no less assertive, the researchers found. Assertiveness, as defined in the study, is "language used to influence, such as imperative statements, suggestions, criticisms and disagreements."

"Contrary to expectations, women used slightly more assertive language than men," they wrote.

Source: Ben Margot/AP

The study also highlighted men's and women's most commonly used language topics.

Female participants expressed positive emotions and wrote about friends, family and social life. They used words like "love," "sooo," "soooo," "super," "aww," "awww," "xoxo" and "<3." 

Self-identified male participants were more likely to curse, express anger, use argumentative language and discuss objects over people. They used words like "government," "tax," "football," "freedom," "rights," "country," "democracy," "power," "fucking" and "fuckin'."

"Looking at language in social media offers a fresh perspective on understanding gender differences," H. Andrew Schwartz, professor at Stony Brook University and a co-author of the paper, said in a press release.

It's no wonder women are disproportionately abused online — on Facebook, where users spend nearly an hour every day in one of its apps, women use warmer language compared to their "well, actually" counterparts. 

"In many ways, the topics most used by women versus men are not surprising — they fit common gender stereotypes," psychologist Dr. Margaret Kim, one of the study's authors, said in the release.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Melanie Ehrenkranz

Melanie is a writer covering technology and the future. She can be reached at melanie@mic.com.

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