Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It is a fundamental aspect of human social interactions and is thought to be an important factor in the development of close relationships and social connections. Empathy allows us to feel compassion for others and to respond to their emotional needs.
There are several theories about the evolutionary origins of empathy. One theory is that empathy evolved as a way for individuals to cooperate and coordinate with one another in order to survive and reproduce. By understanding and responding to the emotions of others, individuals may have been able to work together more effectively and make better decisions as a group.
Why explaining why exactly humans have empathy can surely be challenging, one thing’s for sure: some people have more empathy than others, and women might be better at it. Unsurprisingly, if you ask us.
Women have more empathy than men, regardless of the background or other details
Researchers from the University of Cambridge (UK) have discovered that regardless of where women live in the world or what cultural or family influences they have, they are better at emphasizing with others compared to men, according to a new study that appears in the PNAS journal.
The researchers have great faith in their study, saying that it’s the largest of its kind, looking at a particular type of empathy. The study focuses on cognitive empathy.
In the new research, those in charge of it employed a technique called the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test” or simply the “Eyes Test” to assess an individual’s ability to understand and recognize the mental state and emotions of others. This test involves presenting participants with photographs of people’s eye regions while they make certain facial expressions, and asking the participants to select the corresponding emotion or thought from a list of options. This test is often utilized by scientists to determine if a person may have mental or cognitive difficulties.
Carrie Allison from the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University and also a co-author of the study, explains as CNN quotes:
This study clearly demonstrates a largely consistent sex difference across countries, languages, and ages,
This raises new questions for future research about the social and biological factors that may contribute to the observed on-average sex difference in cognitive empathy.
How many types of empathy are there?
There are several different types of empathy that have been identified by researchers. These types can be broadly classified into two main categories: cognitive empathy and affective empathy.
Cognitive empathy, also known as perspective-taking, is the ability to understand and accurately perceive the thoughts and feelings of others. It involves being able to see things from someone else’s point of view and understanding their thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. Cognitive empathy is often considered an important component of social intelligence and is thought to be necessary for effective communication and collaboration.
Affective empathy, also known as emotional empathy, is the ability to share and respond to the emotions of others. It involves being able to feel what others are feeling and experiencing their emotions as if they were your own. Affective empathy is thought to be an important factor in the development of close relationships and is often considered a key component of compassion.
One interesting fact about empathy is that it has been observed in many different species of animals, including primates, dogs, and even rodents. This suggests that the ability to understand and respond to the emotions of others may be a more widespread trait in the animal kingdom than was previously thought.