Traditionally women are viewed as being more social and cooperative than men. But now, a new study has shown that males maintain larger social networks with same-sex peers compared to females.
What's more, men tend to have longer lasting friendships with members of the same-sex than do women.
Psychologist Joyce F. Benenson from Emmanuel College, along with her colleagues from Harvard University and the Universite du Quebec a Montreal compared males' and females' levels of tolerance towards same-sex peers.
The researchers recruited male and female college students for this study and had them complete surveys about their relationship with their roommates.
In a separate experiment, the participants read a story in which a hypothetical individual's best friend was described as being completely reliable until one day when they promised to hand in a paper and did not. After reading the story, the participants were to judge the best friend's reliability.
The findings reveal that males are more tolerant than females of unrelated same-sex individuals. The males in this study rated their roommates as being more satisfactory and less bothersome than females did.
The researchers also found at three different collegiate institutions that females were more likely to switch to a new roommate than males were.
The results of the final experiment, in which participants judged one negative behaviour of a formerly reliable hypothetical friend, showed that women downgraded the best friend's reliability significantly more than men did.
However, the researchers have warned that their definition of tolerance may be limited and more work needs to be done to uncover the fundamental processes suggested by their findings.
The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.