Are Men the More Belligerent Sex?

The notion that men have shorter fuses than women has acquired the status of a psychological shibboleth. More than 30 years ago Stanford University psychologists Eleanor Maccoby and Carol Jacklin concluded in an influential book that sex differences were minimal in most psychological traits but considerable when it comes to aggression. This opinion has endured ever since.

Were Maccoby and Jacklin right? Recent research bears out the broad brushstrokes of their claim but reveals that women can be equally, if less dangerously, belligerent.

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