If Jack would’ve survived, could he forgive his titanic love Rose for “letting him go”? Probably yes, since Jack was a highly empathetic man. Let’s find out together what is actually the relationship between empathy and forgiveness and whether it differs by gender.
Empathy and forgiveness are essential for social functioning. Previous research observed a tendency for women to be more empathetic then men, due to various biological and socio-cultural reasons. As humans, we would expect that empathy regulates one’s general ability to forgive. Nevertheless, empirical studies confirmed such a link in case of men only.
Although women show higher levels of empathy than men do, it can be puzzling to think that empathy promotes forgiveness in men exclusively. No matter how striking the ability of a woman to put herself in “another’s person shoes”, this will not make her more prone to forgive. Perhaps forgiveness is moderated by the motivation to show empathy, rather than the ability to do it.
In our study, we wanted to asses whether empathy levels are a better predictor for forgiveness in men than in women. After analysing various studies, it is easy to conclude that the story behind “I forgive you” is controversial. In our paper, we tried to detangle this issue from a gender differences perspective. If you’re interested to find out if Jack’s empathy could indeed motivate him to forgive Rose, stay tuned for our paper!
Thank you dearly for participating in our study!