Researchers have known so far that women of all ages tend to worry more and more about men who are more relaxed, Live Science reports.
Also, women tend to perceive situations as riskier and become more anxious than men.
Now specialists know why.
According to two new studies, women believe more than men that past experiences clearly predict the future. Research that included children between the ages of 3 and 6 and adults of both sexes tested to what extent participants believed that worries may be caused by the belief that a bad event that happened in the past may happen again in the future. (This ability, in its simple form, is particularly important for social harmony but also in decision making or risk assessment.)
For the first study, the subjects listened to 6 stories with characters injured by another character or animal in the story. Over several days, the character felt worried or behaved differently when confronted again with the same villain who had hurt him before. (For example, if one boy stole a toy from another boy, the child may be worried when he will see the one who stole his toy and most likely will hide his toy.)
The second study was the same, except that the new characters resembled only the villains in the first stories. At the end of each story participants were asked to explain why the character was worried or why they changed their behavior.
The researchers say that women, both children and adults, were not sure when they explained the reaction of the character, that is, they tended to explain the characters' reaction based on events that might happen and comparing them with those that happened.
These participants were more likely than men to predict that the characters who met the character who looks similar to the villain will worry because they think the new character will want to hurt them.
Studies have also shown that as they got older, children were making more and more connections between past and future, which offered a lot of relevant data about their cognitive development.
These results are significant because they reveal that data on the impact of past-future thinking on emotions and behavior develops up to 7 years.
October 19, 2007