On average, women are better than men at putting themselves in someone else’s shoes and imagining what they’re thinking and feeling, according to a new study of more than 300,000 people in 57 countries. is suggested in
Researchers found that women, on average, scored higher than men on the widely used “reading mind with your eyes” test that measures “theory of mind” (also known as “cognitive empathy”). This finding was observed in all ages and in most countries.
Research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)is the largest theory of mind study ever.
A fundamental part of human social interaction and communication involves putting oneself in the shoes of others and imagining their thoughts and feelings. Or known as “cognitive empathy”.
For decades, researchers have studied the development of theory of mind from infancy to old age. One of the most widely used tests for studying theory of mind is the “read mind with your eyes” test, or Eyes test for short. This asks participants to choose the word that best describes the person in the picture. Just looking at pictures of the eye area of the face makes me think and feel.
The Eyes Test was first developed in 1997 by Professor Simon Baron Cohen and a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge, and revised in 2001, making it an established assessment of theory of mind. He is listed as one of two recommended tests for measuring individual differences in “Understanding Mental States” by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Over the decades, many independent research studies have found that, on average, women score higher than men on theory of mind tests. It lacked great diversity in terms of geography, culture, and/or age and was limited to a relatively small sample. Collaborators from the University, Harvard University, University of Washington, University of Haifa, and IMT Lucca integrated large samples from various online platforms to analyze data from 305,726 participants. in 57 countries.
We found that across 57 countries, women scored on average significantly higher than men (36 countries) or equal to men (21 countries). Importantly, in no country did men score significantly higher than women on average on vision tests. The average sex difference was found over the lifetime from age 16 to her 70s. The team also confirmed this average gender difference in her three independent datasets and non-English versions of her Eyes Test, across eight languages.
Dr. David M. Greenberg, principal scientist on the study, Zuckerman Scholar at Bar-Ilan and Emeritus Fellow at Cambridge, said: More empathetic than men – present in different countries around the world. I can only say this with confidence using very large datasets.
Although the study cannot determine the cause of this average sex difference, the authors believe that this may be the result of both biological and social factors, based on previous research. We are discussing.
Studies of average gender differences say nothing about individual minds or aptitudes. Eye tests have revealed that many people have trouble reading facial expressions for a variety of reasons. You need to offer support to those who ask for it. ”
Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Center for Autism Research at the University of Cambridge, senior author of the study
The researchers also showed that, in addition to gender, the “D score” (difference between willingness to organize and willingness to empathize) was a significant negative predictor of vision test scores. This adds to his previous study of more than 650,000 participants led by Greenberg in 2018. PNAS, we found that D-score accounted for more than 19 times the variance of autistic traits, more than gender and other demographic variables. Therefore, the D-score appears to play a more important role than gender in human cognition.
Dr. Carrie Allison, Director of Applied Research, Center for Autism Research, University of Cambridge and member of the team, said: Studies on social and biological factors that may contribute to observed average gender differences in cognitive empathy.
Greenberg, DM, and others. (2022) Gender and age differences in ‘theory of mind’ in 57 countries using the English version of the ‘reading the mind with the eyes’ test. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.