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Chapter 13 The effects of empathy on judgments of sexual harassment complaints

Emotions, Ethics and Decision-Making

ISBN: 978-1-84663-940-1, eISBN: 978-1-84663-941-8

Publication date: 25 July 2008


Recent research suggests that individual difference variables that measure emotional reactions may be useful in understanding sexual harassment judgments. In the present study, 503 male and female working adults viewed two videos of sexual harassment cases and were asked to make judgments about the nature of the behavior. Participants also completed measures of sexism and empathy. Results indicated that Perspective Taking (PT), a component of empathy, interacted with gender to explain judgments regarding sexual harassment. Contrary to expectations, PT did not eliminate the typical gender differences found, but rather magnified them.


Reiter-Palmon, R., Wiener, R.L., Ashley, G., Winter, R.J., Smith, R.M., Richter, E.M. and Voss-Humke, A. (2008), "Chapter 13 The effects of empathy on judgments of sexual harassment complaints", Zerbe, W.J., Härtel, C.E.J. and Ashkanasy, N.M. (Ed.) Emotions, Ethics and Decision-Making (Research on Emotion in Organizations, Vol. 4), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 285-310.



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