, Volume 60, Issue 1-2, pp 142-150
Date: 16 Jul 2008

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

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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.

This research described in this article was supported by a grant from the Timberlawn Psychiatric Research Foundation. We thank Tracey Blotkey, Tracee Cole, Beatrice Davis, Gina Querner, Deborah Russey, Jason Schoenthal, Andria Schwegler, Wayland Scott, Marissa Vasquez, Kimberley Wear, Brea Yell, and Connie Yu for their assistance in collecting and coding the data. We also thank Bill Ickes and Amy Schweinle for immeasurable help throughout this project.