Around the world, women are more empathetic than men: study

Around the world women are more empathetic than men study
Around the world women are more empathetic than men study
Khushbu Kumari

The research had the participation of 300,000 people from 57 countries

Empathy is one of the most important emotions in human relationships and coexistence and a recent study showed that women are better than men when it comes to putting themselves in the place of others.

A study from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, found that, on average, women are better than men at being empathic and imagining what the other person is thinking or feeling,

Conducted on more than 300,000 people from 57 countries, the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), is the largest to date on theory of mind.

Women, according to research results, score better than men on the “Reading Minds in the Eyes” test , which measures “theory of mind” (also known as “cognitive empathy”). This finding was observed in all ages and in most countries.

In this type of test, the research explains, participants are asked to choose the word that best describes what the person in the photo is thinking or feeling, just by looking at photos of the ocular region of the face.

The results showed that, in the 57 countries studied, women scored significantly higher than men (in 36 countries), or similar to men (in 21 countries), on the Eye Test.

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There was no country where the mean score for men was significantly higher than that for women. The mean difference between the sexes was observed throughout life, from 16 to 70 years. The team also confirmed this mean difference between the sexes in three independent data sets and in non-English versions of the Eye Test, in eight languages.

“Our results provide some of the first evidence that the well-known phenomenon that women are on average more empathic than men is present in a wide range of countries around the world. Only using very large data sets can we say for sure,” said Dr. David M. Greenberg, Honorary Research Associate at Cambridge and lead scientist on the study.

Although this study cannot discern the cause of this mean difference between the sexes, the authors state, based on previous research, that it may be due to both biological and social factors.

“The Eye Test reveals that many individuals have difficulty reading facial expressions, for a variety of reasons,” concluded Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the University of Cambridge Autism Research Center and lead author of the study.

The Eye Test

One of the most widely used tests to study the theory of mind is the “reading the mind in the eyes” test (or eyes test for short).

The Eye Test was first developed in 1997 by Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen and his research team at Cambridge, and revised in 2001, and has become a well-established assessment of theory of mind.

It is also one of two tests recommended by the US National Institute of Mental Health. to measure individual differences in the “Understanding of Mental States”.

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