Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 142-150

Men’s Empathic Bias, Empathic Inaccuracy, and Sexual Harassment

  • William E. SchweinleAffiliated withDepartment of Health Sciences, University of South Dakota Email author 
  • , Carol CoferAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, Texas State University
  • , Sandra SchatzAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of South Dakota

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Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between men’s sexual harassment of women and men accuracy and bias when inferring women’s critical or rejecting thoughts and feelings. Eighty married men from the Arlington, Texas, USA community participated. Results indicated that men’s sexual harassment behavior is negatively related to men’s accuracy in determining when women have critical or rejecting thoughts or feelings. Further, men’s sexual harassment behavior is positively related to men’s bias to overattribute criticism and rejection. This pattern of findings suggests that male sexual harassers tend to over-infer women’s criticism and rejection and make these inferences at the wrong times. These findings also support recent speculation that men’s sexual harassment of women is related to aggression rather than seduction.

Keywords

Sexual harassment Aggression Empathic accuracy Overattribution bias Signal detection