The impact of empathy and reappraisal on emotional intensity recognition

Cognition and Emotion 32 (5):972-987 (2017)
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ABSTRACTEmpathy represents a fundamental ability that allows for the creation and cultivation of social bonds. As part of the empathic process, individuals use their own emotional state to interpret the content and intensity of other people’s emotions. Therefore, the current study was designed to test two hypotheses: empathy for the pain of another will result in biased emotional intensity judgment; and changing one’s emotion via emotion regulation will modulate these biased judgments. To test these hypotheses, in experiment one we used a modified version of a well-known task that triggers an empathic reaction We found that empathy resulted in biased emotional intensity judgment. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a bias in the recognition of emotional facial expressions as a function of empathy for pain. In experiment two, we replicated these findings in an independent sample, and further found that this biased emotional intensity judgment can be moderated via reappr...



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