Reaction Paper: Forgiveness and Empathy
The ability to be empathetic toward others and forgive is without a doubt essential to relationships between people. Loren Toussaint and Jon R. Webb's study "Gender Differences in the Relationship Between Empathy and Forgiveness" gives some insight into how gender may influence the frequency in the use of empathy and forgiveness. From the data collected from the study their also seemed to be a difference in the way empathy is linked to forgiveness in men and women. It is foolish to believe that the differences in men and women's actions will one day be completely understood, but I think that this type of research may help people avoid misunderstanding of the opposite sex's actions by explaining that there is a difference based on gender. The article addressed four different hypotheses. It was first hypothesized that empathy is positively linked with forgiveness. I wasn't surprised to find that the results agreed with the theory. In the description of the second hypothesis it was stated that fewer men participated in group "forgiveness" interventions. I did not agree that this is convincing grounds to suspect that men are more prone than women to not forgiving. The only hypothesis that I found a little interesting was the third hypothesis that assumed "there would be no gender differences between men and women in forgiveness" (Toussaint and Webb, 2005, p. 676). I think that this is an important statement. If there is a difference in men and women's ability to be compassionate, you would think that this would greatly affect a person's ability to forgive. The third hypothesis was indeed supported by the results and I believed it provided evidence that forgiveness may depend very little on empathy. I had to read the final hypothesis a couple of times before I could really understand it. It seems to me that the fourth hypothesis was created justify the entire study. Since the title of the article is "Gender Differences in the...
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