London: Women can no longer be considered the weaker sex as a new study has claimed that they are more cunning and competitive than men especially in tougher situations.

Researchers have found that instead of physical violence, women depend more on subtle forms of aggression, such as excluding someone from a group if they think they are a threat.

For the study, the researchers asked volunteers to play a game against two hypothetical partners. The subjects had the option of playing alone or joining forces with an opponent, according to media reports.

The results showed that when the volunteers played the game with no threat of social exclusion there was no difference between men and women.

When the exclusion factor was used, however, women chose to join forces with an opponent and exclude the third player more frequently than the male volunteers.

Psychologist Joyce Benenson of Harvard University, who led the study, said, "The social worlds of men and women differ in that women have to worry about alienating others, whereas men worry about getting beaten up.”

"As their primary competitive strategy, females may attempt to form an exclusionary alliance, whereas males may try to directly dominate an opponent."

The study has been published in the 'Psychological Science' journal.