SO WAIT, ARE WE TALKING ABOUT BIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SEXES AGAIN? Females on average perform better than males on a ‘theory of mind’ test across 57 countries.
Females, on average, are better than males at putting themselves in others’ shoes and imagining what the other person is thinking or feeling, suggests a new study of over 300,000 people in 57 countries.
Researchers found that females, on average, score higher than males on the widely used “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” Test, which measures “theory of mind” (also known as “cognitive empathy”). This finding was observed across all ages and most countries.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the largest study of theory of mind to date.
A fundamental part of human social interaction and communication involves putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, to imagine another person’s thoughts and feelings. This is known as “theory of mind” or “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 with which to study theory of mind is the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” Test (or Eyes Test, for short), which asks participants to pick which word best describes what the person in the photo is thinking or feeling, just by viewing photos of the eye region of the face.