A new study released in the journal Psychological Science says women apologize more often than men.
According to study researcher Karina Schumann, men are not reluctant to admit wrongdoing. Men just have a higher threshold for what they think warrants reparation.
Schumann, a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, also said researchers saw no differences between the genders when they looked at the number of apologies relative to the number of offenses the participants perceived they had committed.
It seems the findings might have implications for how men and women communicate with each other.
"It seems to be that when men think they've done something wrong they do apologize just as frequently as when women think they've done something wrong. It's just that they think they've done fewer things wrong,” said Schumann. "Men aren't actively resisting apologizing because they think it will make them appear weak or because they don't want to take responsibility for their actions."
The University of Waterloo conducted two studies to see if genders do indeed differ in how often they apologize, and if so, why this might be.
In group one, 33 university students ages 18 to 44 kept an online diary for 12 days. They documented whether they apologized or did something they thought required an apology, even if they didn't actually say they were sorry. They also kept track of how often they felt someone had committed an offensive act against them that warranted an apology. Group one study findings included the following:
• Women apologized more and reported committing more offensive acts
• Men and women equally apologized 81 percent of the time; when they deemed their actions offensive
• Men were also less likely to report being victims of wrongdoing
The last finding led researchers to initiate a second study to investigate whether men are just not offended as easily and less likely to think they've done something objectionable.
In the second study, 120 undergraduates rated the severity of a particular offensive.