When a woman loses her cool and gets angry during an argument, she’s often dismissed as emotional and irrational — terms that only females tend to get labelled. When males express anger, on the other hand, their expressions are often seen as intimidating and influential.

A new study examines why female anger is dismissed far too often, and whether women actually lose influence to men during an argument. The study, led by psychologists Jessica Salerno of Arizona State University and Liana Peter-Hagene of the University of Illinois-Chicago, had a mock jury play out among 210 undergraduate participants to analyze the potential gender difference.

The participants viewed a 17-minute presentation about a real case, in which a man was on trial for murdering his wife, and they also read the opening and closing statements. Initially, the participants were asked to give a vote of either guilty or not guilty. They were then asked to exchange messages with other jurors — who didn’t exist in reality and were messages scripted by the researchers. Four of the fake jurors (who were gender-neutral) agreed with the participant’s choice, and the fourth one (who had a username that was clearly male or female) disagreed.

Most of the fake juror responses were emotionally neutral, but some were made in anger (expressing anger via all caps, for example). While the participants discussed with these fake jurors, they were asked to report how confident they still felt in their initial verdict.

The researchers found that when a fake male juror expressed anger when disagreeing with participants, the participants were more likely to doubt their own opinion far more. However, “when a female holdout expressed anger, participants became significantly more confident in their own opinion over the course of deliberation,” the authors wrote. Ultimately, this meant that “men were able to exert more social pressure by expressing anger.” But women actually lost influence when they expressed anger.

The stereotype of women overreacting due to their periods, unstable emotions, or irrationality has been debunked — yet it’s still engrained in society.

“Mediation analyses revealed that participants drew different inferences from male versus female anger, which created a gender gap in influence during group deliberation,” the authors wrote in the abstract. “The current study has implications for group decisions in general, and jury deliberations in particular, by suggesting that expressing anger might lead men to gain influence, but women to lose influence over others (even when making identical arguments.”

They continue: “These diverging consequences might result in women potentially having less influence on societally important decisions than men, such as jury verdicts.”

But perhaps Oprah Winfrey’s response to rapper T.I.’s recent comments about women making rash and emotional decisions is the best answer to all of this.

Source: Salerno J, Peter-Hagene L. One Angry Woman: Anger Expression Increases Influence for Men, but Decreases Influence for Women, During Group Deliberation. Law and Human Behavior. 2015.