Empathy: Conceptualization, measurement, and relation to prosocial behavior

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410 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Empathy, sympathy, and related vicarious emotional responses are important concepts in developmental, social, and clinical psychology. The purpose of this paper is to examine conceptual and methodological issues concerning the assessment of vicarious emotional responding and to present data from a series of multimethod studies on the assessment of empathy-related reactions and their association with prosocial behavior. The findings presented are consistent with several conclusions: (a) In some contexts, physiological, facial, and self-report indexes can be useful markers of vicarious emotional responses, (b) other-oriented sympathetic responding is positively related to prosocial behavior (particularly altruism) whereas personal distress reactions sometimes are associated with low levels of helping, and (c) physiological arousal is higher for personal distress than sympathetic reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-149
Number of pages19
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1990

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Altruism
Clinical Psychology
Social Psychology
Arousal
Self Report
Developmental Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Empathy : Conceptualization, measurement, and relation to prosocial behavior. / Eisenberg, Nancy; Fabes, Richard.

In: Motivation and Emotion, Vol. 14, No. 2, 06.1990, p. 131-149.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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