(ORDO NEWS) — Capturing the mood of another person by looking at his eyes is quite difficult. But the results of tests conducted in 57 countries showed that, on average, women cope with this task better than men.
Human social interaction and communication involves putting yourself in other people’s shoes to represent the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Psychologists call this “theory of mind” or “cognitive empathy.”
For decades, researchers have studied the development of a “theory of mind” from infancy to old age.
The most widely used is the relatively simple “eye-reading” test, in which participants are asked to choose which word best describes the state of the person in the picture (what he thinks, worries, what he feels), if only the eye area is photographed.
Many studies have shown that, on average, women score higher than men on theory of mind tests.
However, until now, all studies on this topic have covered only relatively small samples, without much diversity in terms of geography, culture and age.
To address this shortcoming, an international team of scientists from the US, UK, Israel and Italy pooled large samples from various online platforms to analyze data from 305,726 participants in 57 countries.
This made it possible to assess empathy in men and women of different ages (from 16 to 70 years old), living in different countries and belonging to different cultures.
The results showed that across the world and at all ages, women on average scored significantly higher than men (in 36 countries) or as much (in 21 countries) on the eye-reading test.
It is important to note that there was no country where men, on average, scored significantly higher than women.
According to scientists, we can now confidently state that women around the world are, on average, more empathetic than men.
But they also emphasize that the results of the work do not say anything about the mental abilities of the participants, since the ability to read eyes is determined more by biological and social factors.
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