Feeling better in the presence of others: It may depend on whether you are a man or a woman

Teresa Garcia-Marques, Marília Prada, Ricardo Fonseca, Alexandre Fernandes


Previous research has suggested that it is good to have other people around us. Indeed, there seems to be a generally positive impact of the presence of others on individuals’ physical and psychological well-being. In the current work, we examine if these positive experiences may be promoted by the mere presence of nonsignificant others in our environment, during a brief period. Specifically, in two experiments, we compared how being in the presence of others (co-action) versus being alone impacts how participants feel at the moment (mood, Experiment 1) and how satisfied they feel about their lives (general well-being, Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, we also manipulated the nature of the task (i.e., demanding/threatening vs. nondemanding). Both experiments revealed that participants feel more positive when in the presence of others. However, important gender differences occurred: mood enhancement for women (vs. men) only occurred when the task was nondemanding. In the case of life satisfaction, only women were sensitive to the presence of others. We discuss how these effects inform the social facilitation literature.


Social facilitation, Well-being, mood, Gender differences.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14417/ap.1829


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