Sex differences in empathy and related capacities

Nancy Eisenberg, Randy Lennon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    664 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Reviews the literature on sex differences in empathy (defined as vicarious affective responding to the emotional state of another) and related capacities (affective role taking and decoding of nonverbal cues). The literature is discussed according to method used to assess empathy and affective role taking. Where appropriate, meta-analyses were also computed. In general, sex differences in empathy were found to be a function of the methods used to assess empathy. There was a large sex difference favoring women when the measure of empathy was self-report scales; moderate differences (favoring females) were found for reflexive crying and self-report measures in laboratory situations; and no sex differences were evident when the measure of empathy was either physiological or unobtrusive observations of nonverbal reactions to another's emotional state. Moreover, few sex differences were found for children's affective role taking and decoding abilities. (156 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)100-131
    Number of pages32
    JournalPsychological Bulletin
    Volume94
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 1983

    Fingerprint

    Sex Characteristics
    Self Report
    Crying
    Aptitude
    Cues
    Meta-Analysis
    Sex Differences
    Empathy
    Affective
    Emotional State
    Decoding
    Self-report

    Keywords

    • sex differences, empathy & affective role taking & decoding of nonverbal cues, literature review

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)
    • History and Philosophy of Science

    Cite this

    Sex differences in empathy and related capacities. / Eisenberg, Nancy; Lennon, Randy.

    In: Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 94, No. 1, 07.1983, p. 100-131.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Eisenberg, Nancy ; Lennon, Randy. / Sex differences in empathy and related capacities. In: Psychological Bulletin. 1983 ; Vol. 94, No. 1. pp. 100-131.
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