The truth why your wife is more emotionally expressive than you is out: Her brain processes emotions differently than yours.
This is the result of a large-scale study by a research team at University of Basel in Switzerland that found that women rate emotional images more intensely than men and are more likely to remember them.
With the help of 3,398 participants, the researchers were able to demonstrate that females rated emotional image content – especially negative content – as more emotionally stimulating than their male counterparts did.
In the case of neutral images, however, there were no gender-related differences in emotional appraisal.
In a subsequent memory test, female participants could freely recall significantly more images than the male participants.
Surprisingly though, women had a particular advantage over men when recalling positive images.
"This would suggest that gender-dependent differences in emotional processing and memory are due to different mechanisms," said study leader Annette Milnik.
Using data from 696 test subjects, the researchers were also able to show that stronger appraisal of negative emotional image content by the female participants is linked to increased brain activity in motoric regions.
"This result would support the common belief that women are more emotionally expressive than men," explained Klara Spalek, lead author of the study.
The results are forthcoming in the Journal of Neuroscience.