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Gender Differences in Responses to Stress can Affect our Ability to Tune into Others

Research indicates that men and women have different reactions to stress, which affects their ability to accurately tune into others. Distinguishing one’s own thoughts and feelings from another person’s plays an important role in crucial social skills, such as understanding and empathy. Under stress, women showed increases in self-other distinction, while men showed decreases. The findings suggest that women flexibly distinguish self and other under stress, enabling accurate social responses, while men respond with increased egocentricity and less adaptive regulation. This has crucial implications for explaining gender differences in social skills such as empathy and prosociality.

Citation: Tomova, L., von Dawans, B., Heinrichs, M., Silani, G., & Lamm, C. Is stress affecting our ability to tune into others? Evidence for gender differences in the effects of stress on self-other distinction. Psychoneuroendocrinology.


Theory of Well-Being