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Empathy Measurement. Sibylle Enz. Psychological Empathy Measures. Self-Description Questionnaires Empathy as an ability Face Recognition Picture Stories Somatic and Psychophysiological Measures Behavioural Measures. Psychological Empathy Measures Questionnaires.

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Empathy measurement

Empathy Measurement

Sibylle Enz


Psychological empathy measures
Psychological Empathy Measures

  • Self-Description

    • Questionnaires

  • Empathy as an ability

    • Face Recognition

    • Picture Stories

  • Somatic and Psychophysiological Measures

  • Behavioural Measures


Psychological empathy measures questionnaires
Psychological Empathy Measures Questionnaires

  • Subjects rate their tendency to react empathically on a series of items  easy and differentiated

“I can tell by looking at a person whether they are happy.”

0 1 2 3 4

I strongly agree I strongly disagree

  • Problems:

    • Situational context of empathic reactions

    • Influence of introspective and verbal skills

    • Influence of self-presentation


Psychological empathy measures empathy as an ability
Psychological Empathy Measures Empathy as an Ability

  • Emotional Face Recognition

  • Subjects identify emotions on the basis of pictures of facial expressions

  • E.g. Ekman & Friesen (1975) facial emotion expressions

  • Very limited perspective on empathy: interpersonal accuracy


Psychological empathy measures empathy as an ability1
Psychological Empathy Measures Empathy as an Ability

Which emotion is the person on the photo currently experiencing?


Psychological empathy measures picture stories
Psychological Empathy Measures Picture Stories

  • Picture Stories

    Affectively charged stories; Subjects label feelings of characters and indicate own feelings

     Empathy = same/similar emotion

  • Pros:

    • Interview-based approach: subjects report subjectively experienced emotions

    • Easy and differentiated

  • Cons:

    • Influence of introspective and verbal skills

    • Influence of self-presentation

    • Degree of emotional match?


Psychological empathy measures somatic psychophysiological measures
Psychological Empathy Measures Somatic/Psychophysiological Measures

  • Presentation of affectively charged stories, usually on videotapes

  • Measurement of observer’s reaction via

    • Somatic indices

    • Physiological indices

  • Empathy scored for adequate observer’s reaction

Somatic Indices

  • Facial

  • Gestural

  • Postural

  • Paraverbal

Physiological Indices

  • Skin conductance

  • Heart rate

  • Palm sweating

  • Skin temperature

  • Vasoconstriction

  • Electromyographic procedures

  • Pros:

    • Less vulnerable to verbal skills and self-presentation

  • Cons:

    • Psychophysiological Indices: Differentiation? Devices?

    • Somatic Indices: Expressive styles? Observer bias?


Psychological empathy measures behavioural measures

Empathy is seen as precondition for observable behaviour Measures

By assessing this behaviour, empathy is measured

E.g. helping/prosocial behaviour:

Kobayashi: Painting aquarelle

Problem:

Relation between behaviour and empathy?

Psychological Empathy Measures Behavioural Measures


Summary
Summary Measures

Is it really empathy I am assessing?

  • Self-presentation

  • Emotional arousal

  • Liking

  • combination of empathy measures!


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