The aim of this study was to investigate gender differences in reactions to two types of advice: blunt and mitigated, when preparing for a speech task. Because of the content of gender stereotypes, it was presumed that women and men will differ in terms of how they perceive advice, what they feel and think when it is given, and what is their attitude toward the advice giver. It was also examined if the directness of advice, as Brown and Levinson politeness theory predicts, changes its outcomes. The results suggest that men cope better with negative effects of receiving advice, both blunt and mitigated. Male subjects for example did not make negative social comparisons with the advice giver and did not lose faith in doing well in the speech task. It was also discovered that the sex of advice giver was important for subjects reactions. Men were more angry, when a man was advising them bluntly, whereas women were more angry when a man was giving them mitigated advice and when a woman skipped the opportunity of commenting on their performance. The results are discussed in light of previous reports on gender differences in tackling achievement tasks, reactions to feedback, and in the context of gender roles.
Keywords: gender differences, advice giving, politeness
Cite this article as:
Gronostaj, A. (2012). Gender differences in reactions to blunt and mitigated advice. Psychologia Społeczna, 23, 307–321.