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.
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.