politics

The horrifying results showing the ‘Trump Effect’ in men.

Oh god, this is terrifying.

In the weeks and months following Donald Trump’s shocking election to the US Presidency, we’ve approached each new day with caution: what will he do next? Who is next on the hit list? How will our world survive?

But as the initial horror settled into something more permanent – a sad resignation, perhaps – the thinkers of the world really got thinking: what does the Trump era mean for humanity? And for two social scientists in America, their findings are nothing short of horrifying.

Corinne Low and Jenny Huang of the University of Pennsylvania were investigating gender differences in communication styles when they stumbled across some unexpected results: the way that men were speaking to women in their negotiations following the election.

In a simple game they named ‘Battle of the Sexes’, Huang and Low set out to prove that men are less likely to use aggressive negotiation techniques when paired with female partners.

Researchers have investigated the "Trump effect". Source: Getty

Amazingly, results recorded since Trump was elected show rising numbers of men using tougher, meaner, and less tolerant tactics than before.

“We repeat (the) experiment after the election, and find two important differences,” the duo note in their report paper, ‘Trumping Norms’.

“1) Individuals are less cooperative in general, more likely to use adversarial strategies, and less likely to reach an agreement, and 2) This is particularly driven by men acting more aggressively toward women.”

The Trump Effect.

The ‘Battle of the Sexes’ game was simple: pairs of participants were given $20 to split between them. Only two splits are available: One person can get $15 and the other can get $5, or vice versa. If they can't agree, both get zero. But here’s the catch: only in some cases would the participant know the sex of their opponent, with the view of studying how and if men change their behaviour when negotiating with women.

Speaking with the Washington Post, Low said that the interactions post-election were on the whole more aggressive, with most pairings losing the money after being unable to negotiate.

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"Not only was the communication more aggressive, it was also less effective," she said.

A recent pro-Trump rally. Source: Getty

Also missing was the kindness or compassion that was noted previously in situations that a male knew he was speaking with a female. Previously, male participants were "displaying what could be classified as 'chivalry' toward female partners," wrote Low in the report.

But it the new Trump climate, the aggressive tactics of ‘hard-balling’ or ‘hard-commitment’ negotiation increased significantly.

The number of men who used a take-it-or-leave-it negotiation strategy against female partners (that is, saying they were taking $15 with no room for negotiation) went up by 140 percent from the pre-election sample.

"That's a huge effect size in laboratory literature," Low said. "We've never seen anything like that."

The Mamamia Outloud team had hoped for a kinder post-Trump world:

With the results speaking volumes about life in Trump’s America, Low and Huang are now looking to answer the big question of - what’s next?

"Was this just immediately after the election, people were sort of worked up and it's going to go away?" she said. "Or is it something that's shifted and is going to last the entire presidency? Those are new questions we don't have answers to."

But for now, it is enough information to know that yes, an aggressive and bullish male leader will result in aggressive and bullish behaviour for his male population. Monkey see, monkey do.

Never has it been more important to continue reinforcing positive messages around tolerance and compassion, and to set role models that can be louder than the ultimate role model of the president.

Because if this is what kind of behaviour is being tracked mere months into Trump’s presidency, what’s it going to look like after four years?

Horrifying.

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