If I Take Your Perspective, Will I Understand You Better?

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If I Take Your Perspective, Will I Understand You Better?

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The Davis multidimensional empathy model features two empathy components: affective (emotional concern, sympathy, caring, compassion) and cognitive (inferring the mental states of others). The cognitive-empathy (CE) capacity to conceptualize and understand another’s point of view - to be "in another’s shoes" - is called perspective-taking (PT). The proficiency with which one infers another’s thoughts and feelings is known as empathic accuracy. One’s capacity for CE/PT should therefore predict EA; however, studies have shown this not to be the case. EA and PT researchers have yet to define the controversial relation between EA and CE/PT. Whereas previous studies have defined PT as a capacity based on measures of dispositional CE self-report scales — and failed to reveal a PT-EA link — this study instead defined PT as a tendency to make spontaneous, literal first-person inferences, and measured this tendency based on one’s actual use of such inferences during an EA task.


Additional contributors: Maryhope Howland; Jeffry A. Simpson (faculty mentor).

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This project was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

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Ranson, Jana. (2009). If I Take Your Perspective, Will I Understand You Better?. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/57821.

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