Washington: If you want to become a chick magnet, you better start showing some empathy as a recent study has found that teenage boys, who show empathy, attract 1.8 more girlfriends than boys who don't.
The Australian Research Council-funded research, led by Professor Joseph Ciarrochi at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at Australian Catholic University, is the first study to examine the extent that adolescent males and females select empathic classmates as friends.
And the conclusion based on a study of 1,970 Year 10 students in Queensland and New South Wales (average age of 15.7 years) is that girls are more likely to nominate empathic boys as friends.
In contrast, empathetic girls didn't rate quite so highly with the opposite sex. In fact, the study found girls with empathetic qualities "did not attract a greater number of opposite sex friends" at all.
"The more friendship nominations a boy received from either boys or girls, the more they felt supported by their friends; the number of friendship nominations received by girls, in contrast, had no effect on their felt support by friends. Regardless of the quantity of friendship nominations, empathy was linked to more supportive friendships for both males and females," Ciarrochi said.
The researchers defined cognitive empathy as the capacity to comprehend the emotions of another person.
Professor Ciarrochi noted that this research suggests it is critical to identify and teach young people the skills they need to develop supportive friendships. To that end, the study provides a contextual understanding of the role of empathy in selecting and maintaining friendships.
The study appears in Journal of Personality....