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Article Dans Une Revue Physiology & behavior Année : 2015

Perceiving one's body shapes empathy


Background Empathy is a basic human ability with affective and cognitive facets and high interindividual variability. Accurately detecting one's internal body signals (interoceptive sensitivity) strongly contributes to the awareness of oneself and is known to interact with emotional and cognitive processes. This study investigated whether interoceptive sensitivity (i.e., heartbeat perception task) shapes affective and cognitive empathy. Methods Ninety-three participants were asked to report the valence of their feelings, as well as the degree of compassion, arousal, and distress they felt in response to pictures depicting other people in pain or in non-pain situations. Participants also had to estimate how painful the situation was. Results Main results showed that greater interoceptive sensitivity enhanced the estimated degree of pain (cognitive empathy), as well as arousal and feelings of compassion (affective empathy), in response to painful pictures. Conclusions The accurate perception of bodily states and their representation shape both affective and cognitive empathy. This perception enables us to feel more compassion for another person and to evaluate the pain that they experience as being more intense.
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Dates et versions

hal-04326119 , version 1 (06-12-2023)



Delphine Grynberg, Olga Pollatos. Perceiving one's body shapes empathy. Physiology & behavior, 2015, Physiology & behavior, 140, pp.54-60. ⟨10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.12.026⟩. ⟨hal-04326119⟩


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