Date of Award

Summer 8-20-2021

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Shannon McCoy

Second Committee Member

Sandra Caron

Third Committee Member

Mollie Ruben


There is a long-standing tradition of men being held to an unobtainable “man enough” standard of masculinity. Our societal conditioning of men to be emotionless, tough, aggressive and anything-but-feminine through the social punishments of being called a “pussy,” “soft,” or told to “man up” has created an inflexibility for what it means to be a man. The purpose of this study is to capture men’s accuracy in perceiving the pain of masculine as compared to feminine targets when the targets are observed in tourniquet pain procedure. Participants observed ten videos of women and ten videos of men experiencing the tourniquet pain procedure then were asked to rate from one to ten how much pain the target would say they experienced then how much pain the participant thinks the target actually experienced. These ratings were analyzed against the targets’ actual pain rating from the filmed procedure. Analysis for sex of stimuli revealed a significant main effect on pain rating was (F(1,78) = 110.774, p = .000) thus supporting Hypothesis I. Hypotheses II, III, and I, assessing correlations with pain rating accuracy and levels of varying masculinity domains, were not supported by findings. The mean pain score rating was significantly different for masculine-presenting stimuli compared to female-presenting stimuli. There was a robust effect of male participants rating female stimuli’s pain as significantly lower than male stimuli’s pain. No significant correlation between various masculine identity domains and pain perception accuracy was discovered.

Included in

Psychology Commons