Empathic Joy and the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis
ABSTRACT Three experiments tested whether empathy evokes egoistic motivation to share vicariously in the victim's joy at improvement (the empathic-joy hypothesis) instead of altruistic motivation to increase the victim's welfare (the empathy-altruism hypothesis). In Experiment 1, Ss induced to feel either low or high empathy for a young woman in need were given a chance to help her. Some believed that if they helped they would receive feedback about her improvement; others did not. In Experiments 2 and 3, Ss induced to feel either low or high empathy were given a choice of getting update information about a needy person's condition. Before choosing, they were told the likelihood of the person's condition having improved--and of their experiencing empathic joy--was 20%, was 50%, or was 80%. Results of none of the experiments patterned as predicted by the empathic-joy hypothesis; instead, results of each were consistent with the empathy-altruism hypothesis.
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- "By including a set of pictures depicting hands (passively lying on a desk) we tested whether perceiving hands can trigger empathic feelings (and/or thoughts related to hygiene) even if the depicted hands are not executing empathy-related acts. After presentation of the pictures, we measured participants' state empathy with five items from Batson and colleagues (Batson, 1987; 1991 "
ABSTRACT: Objectives. Adopting a social-psychological approach, this research examines whether emotional empathy, an affective reaction regarding another’s well-being, fosters hand hygiene as this affects other’s health-related well-being extensively. Design. Three studies tested this notion: (a) A cross-sectional study involving a sample of health care workers at a German hospital, (b) an experiment testing the causal effect of empathy on hand hygiene behavior, and (c) an 11-weeks prospective study testing whether an empathy induction affected disinfectant usage frequency in two different wards of a hospital. Main outcome measures. Self-reported hand hygiene behavior based on day reconstruction method was measured in Study 1, actual hand sanitation behavior was observed in Study 2, and disinfectant usage frequency in two different hospital wards was assessed in Study 3. Results. Study 1 reveals an association of empathy with hand hygiene cross-sectionally, Study 2 documents the causal effect of empathy on increased hand sanitation. Study 3 shows an empathy induction increases hand sanitizer usage in the hospital. Conclusions. Increasing emotional empathy promotes hand hygiene behavior, also in hospitals. Besides providing new impulses for the design of effective interventions, these findings bear theoretical significance as they document the explanatory power of empathy regarding a distal explanandum (hand hygiene).Psychology and Health 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/08870446.2015.1088945 · 2.13 Impact Factor
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- "With respect to charitable giving, compelling yet competing psychological theories suggest that different affective states might promote resource sharing (Batson et al., 1991; Batson, Duncan, Ackerman, Buckley, & Birch, 1981; Cialdini et al., 1987; Dickert, Sagara, & Slovic, 2011; Fehr & Camerer, 2007; Zaki & Mitchell, 2011, 2013). For instance, whereas some findings suggest that negative affect (e.g., guilt, empathy) can increase charitable giving (Fisher & Ma, 2014; Hein, Silani, Preuschoff, Batson, & Singer, 2010; Small & Verrochi, 2009), others implicate positive affect (e.g., warmth, excitement; Andreoni, 1995). "
ABSTRACT: Humans sometimes share with others whom they may never meet or know, in violation of the dictates of pure self-interest. Research has not established which neuropsychological mechanisms support lending decisions, nor whether their influence extends to markets involving significant financial incentives. In two studies, we found that neural affective mechanisms influence the success of requests for microloans. In a large Internet database of microloan requests (N = 13,500), we found that positive affective features of photographs promoted the success of those requests. We then established that neural activity (i.e., in the nucleus accumbens) and self-reported positive arousal in a neuroimaging sample (N = 28) predicted the success of loan requests on the Internet, above and beyond the effects of the neuroimaging sample's own choices (i.e., to lend or not). These findings suggest that elicitation of positive arousal can promote the success of loan requests, both in the laboratory and on the Internet. They also highlight affective neuroscience's potential to probe neuropsychological mechanisms that drive microlending, enhance the effectiveness of loan requests, and forecast market-level behavior. © The Author(s) 2015.Psychological Science 07/2015; 26(9). DOI:10.1177/0956797615588467 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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- "cial moments , arising from a contin - uous coordinated interaction between people , are defined here as moments of togetherness . They relate to a common human phenomenon , appearing in a variety of social contexts , includ - ing collective rituals ( Durkheim , 1965 ; Freeman , 1998 ; Bulbulia et al . , 2013 ) , empathic communication ( e . g . , Batson et al . , 1991 ) and mother - infant relationship ( e . g . , Trevarthen , 1979 ; Feldman , 2006 ) . Joint improvisation can be viewed as a special case of joint action , the dynamic coordination between individuals aimed at bringing a change in the environment ( Sebanz et al . , 2006 ) . A completion of any joint action , whether dancing or moving a "
ABSTRACT: Performers improvising together describe special moments of ‘being in the zone’ - periods of high performance, synchrony and enhanced sense of togetherness. Existing evidence suggests ¬a possible route for attaining togetherness - interpersonal synchrony, the fine-grained sensory-motor coordination that promotes social connectedness. Here we investigated the physiological characteristics of togetherness using a practice from theater and dance, the mirror game. Pairs of expert improvisers jointly improvised synchronized linear motion, while their motion tracks and cardiovascular activity were continuously monitored. Players also provided dynamic ratings of togetherness while watching video recordings of their games. We identified periods of togetherness using kinematic and subjective markers and assessed their physiological characteristics. The kinematic and the subjective measures of togetherness showed some agreement, with more extensive game-periods being marked by the subjective than the kinematic one. Game rounds with high rates of togetherness were characterized by increased players’ cardiovascular activity, increased correlation of players’ heart rates, and increased motion intensity. By comparing motion segments with similar motion intensity, we showed that moments of togetherness in the mirror game were marked by increased players’ heart rates, regardless of motion intensity. This pattern was robust for the subjectively defined periods of togetherness, while showing a marginal effect for the kinematically defined togetherness. Building upon similar findings in flow research we suggest that the observed increase of players’ heart rates during togetherness periods in the mirror game might indicate the enhanced engagement and enjoyment reported by performers going into ‘the zone’. The suggested approach, combining temporal measurements of kinematic, physiological and subjective responses, demonstrates how the dynamics of spontaneously emerging dyadic statesFrontiers in Human Neuroscience 05/2015; 9(187). DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00187 · 2.99 Impact Factor