Are Men or Women More Empathetic: Here is What Science Says


Empathy is known as a person’s ability to understand another’s emotions. It is their ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes (so to say) and fully understand other people’s current emotional state. But between men and women, many researchers have sought to determine which gender can be more empathetic than the other. 

It turns out that women are more empathetic than men.

This assertion is backed by extensive research conducted by researchers at Cambridge, Harvard, IMT School for Advanced Studies in Italy, and a host of other universities via an online test termed the “Eyes Test.” This test aimed to measure the reactions of over 300,000 people aged 16 to 67 across 57 countries. The emerging results pegged women to score higher in cognitive empathy. 

The Empathy Test 

David Greenberg, a psychologist and social neuroscientist at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, noted that the results emanating from the research provide solid evidence to the traditional knowledge that women are more empathetic than men. In the experiment, the participants looked at many pictures of people’s eyes and attempted to identify the emotion that the eyes portrayed. Additional research has further highlighted that the ability of women to be more empathetic may be a result of motivation, as against one’s ability to decipher emotions. Above all, no concrete evidence pinpointed the exact cause for this gap in cognitive empathy between the two genders. 

For Cynthia Catchings, a therapist and executive director of the Women’s Emotional Wellness Center, women’s cognitive ability seemingly stems from their upbringing. She further stated that women socialize more and keep close friends than men. Sara Hodges, a professor and head of the psychology department at the University of Oregon says that people think their mothers are more empathetic than their fathers because mothers seem to know what their children think and feel. She also opines that women are better at decoding emotional and nonverbal communication than men. 


In conclusion, scientific evidence proves that women are more empathetic than men, even though the exact reasons for this discrepancy are still unknown. The research conducted by the collaboration of top-notch universities across the globe remains the most significant data gathered concerning this subject matter. Even though many experts have cast shades of concern over the verifiability of such evidence, the “Eyes Test” remains a standard reference concerning cognitive empathy amongst both genders.