ArticlesGender bias in the observation of experimental painRobinson, Michael Ea,b,c,d,∗; Wise, Emily Aa,dAuthor Information aDepartment of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA bMcKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA cDepartment of Anesthesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA dCenter for Pain Research and Behavioral Health, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, P.O. Box 100165 HSC, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610–0165, USA ∗Corresponding author. Tel.: +1–352–395–0490; fax: +1–352–395–0468 E-mail: [email protected] Submitted July 31, 2002; revised December 30, 2002; accepted January 9, 2003. Pain: July 2003 - Volume 104 - Issue 1 - p 259-264 doi: 10.1016/S0304-3959(03)00014-9 Buy Metrics Abstract The aim of this study was to examine how men and women observe experimentally induced pain in male and female participants and to specifically determine the accuracy of observed pain ratings, the possible interactions between the sex of the viewer and the sex of the individual being observed, and the influence of gender role expectations on observed pain ratings. The sample comprised 29 participants (15 females). They each completed a battery of psychological questionnaires and viewed a presentation of 10 randomly ordered video clips. Each presentation consisted of 10 video clips, lasting 30 s, of a participant (five males and five females) in the cold pressor task. The participants viewing the videos were asked to provide several ratings, including observed pain intensity and gender role related characteristics of the individual in the video. In terms of sex of the video participant, results indicated that viewers rated male videos as having less pain than female videos although the effect was small. Regarding sex of the viewer, results indicated that for both male and female videos, female viewers rated observed pain intensity significantly higher than did male viewers. In terms of accuracy, results indicated that on average, female video participants' pain was underestimated by 14 points, while male videos participants' pain was underestimated by 22 points (on a 0–100-point scale). Pain intensity ratings and pain tolerance from the participants in the videos did not differ significantly with respect to sex, though women had shorter tolerance times and higher pain ratings than men. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that expectations of gender related ‘endurance of pain’ significantly predicted ratings of both male and female videos. When endurance expectations were controlled, sex of the viewer no longer significantly predicted observed pain ratings. The ‘willingness to report pain’ variable was not a significant predictor of observed pain ratings. Our results show that women are perceived to have more pain than men, that there was a tendency by both sexes to underestimate pain in others, but men showed even greater underestimation, and that gender role expectations of pain endurance given by the video observers accounted for substantial variance in their ratings of pain in the videos. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.