Gender roles and empathic accuracy: The role of communion in reading minds

Sean M. Laurent, Sara D. Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Although empathic accuracy is considered a stable skill, few individual difference measures consistently predict performance on Ickes' (e.g., 2001) empathic accuracy measure. Because past work has shown that women are more empathically accurate than men when female gender roles are made salient before an empathic accuracy task, we hypothesized that self-reported communion and related variables might predict empathic accuracy. Participants (194 undergraduates) from a northwestern U.S. university completed an empathic accuracy task and self-report measures of communion and empathy. Communion and empathic concern predicted greater empathic accuracy, but only after controlling for socially desirable responding. The role of communion in empathic inference is discussed, along with the need to include measures of social desirability when examining correlates of empathic accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-398
Number of pages12
JournalSex Roles
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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