Sex Roles

, 60:142 | Cite as

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

  • William E. Schweinle
  • Carol Cofer
  • Sandra Schatz
Original Article


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.


Sexual harassment Aggression Empathic accuracy Overattribution bias Signal detection 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • William E. Schweinle
    • 1
  • Carol Cofer
    • 2
  • Sandra Schatz
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Health SciencesUniversity of South DakotaVermillionUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkTexas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South DakotaVermillionUSA

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