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Evol Psychol. 2018 Apr-Jun;16(2):1474704918775253. doi: 10.1177/1474704918775253.

Aggression and Helping as Responses to Same-Sex and Opposite-Sex Rejection in Men and Women.

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1 The Maria Grzegorzewska University, Warsaw, Poland.
2 Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Warsaw, Poland.


Research shows that interpersonal rejection increases aggression and decreases helping toward the rejecter. Based on the assumptions of the evolutionary approach, it was hypothesized that aggression would be higher and helping would be lower after rejection by a same-sex rather than an opposite-sex other. Moreover, it was predicted that the effect for aggression would be stronger in men, and the effect for helping would be stronger in women. Participants ( N = 100) were rejected or accepted by a same- or opposite-sex person, and later aggression and helping were measured using the tangram Help-Hurt task. The major finding was that same-sex rejection resulted in more aggression and less helping than opposite-sex rejection, but the rejectee's sex did not moderate the effect. Instead, men were more aggressive and less helping independently of condition. Along with the sexual exchange theory, more negative behavior in same-sex rejection could be interpreted as raised in-group sexual competitive tendencies, whereas less negative behavior in opposite-sex rejection could result from the motivation to exchange resources between men and women.


aggression; helping; interpersonal rejection; opposite-sex; same-sex; sex differences

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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