Study Suggests Stress Makes Men Friendlier

July 10, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. nerve-racking (adj.) 
[nurv-rak-ing] – stressful or causing worry
Example: Speaking in front of a large audience is nerve-racking.

2. succession (n.) [suhk-sesh-uhn] – a number of things that happen one after the other
Example: The succession of math and science tests  tired the participants.

3. betray (v.) [bih-trey] – to go against someone’s trust, loyalty or belief
Example:  He would never betray his business partner by spending the company’s money.

4. trustworthy (adj.) [truhst-wur-thee] – honest or dependable
Example: I know he will return my money because he is a trustworthy person.

5. interaction – [in-ter-ak-shuhn] communication between people
Example The games helped the students have good interaction during the party.

Read the text below.

A recent study revealed that, contrary to popular belief, men who are stressed are not always aggressive.

The Psychological Science journal released a study that showed men are actually friendlier in nerve-racking situations.

The study gathered 67 male students from the University of Zurich. Fifty percent of the men were asked to do worry-free activities, such as reading along with other people and solving easy math problems. The other 50% were told to answer a difficult mental-math test and to give a public speech in order to raise their stress levels.

After the activities, the students participated in a succession of gambling games using real money. The games tested whether the students would trust or betray a partner player and whether the students would keep or share money.

Throughout the test, researchers measured the participants’ heart rates and the amount of cortisol or stress hormones in their saliva.

The results showed that stressed men were kinder, more generous and more trustworthy than those without stress.

Furthermore, the stressed group made almost the same number of risky moves while gambling as the non-stressed group. This indicates that the two groups were not very different except for their social interactions.

Markus Heinrichs, a researcher of the study, concludes that in almost any difficult situation, people are likely to reduce stress by communicating positively with others.

Since women were not part of the study, the difference between how men and women deal with stress could not be compared. The study proves, however, that men can also act friendly when under stress.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that people act friendlier when they are stressed? Why or why not?
·         Are there advantages to being stressed? What are the disadvantages of stress?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think studying the effects of stress is important?
·         How can people relieve their stress in a healthy and positive way?


July 10, 2012