|Reference : Capacities of cognitive and emotional empathy in relationship to interpersonal diffic...|
|Scientific congresses and symposiums : Poster|
|Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Treatment & clinical psychology|
|Capacities of cognitive and emotional empathy in relationship to interpersonal difficulties in alcohol dependant patients (AD)|
|Dethier, Marie [Université de Liège - ULg > Département des sciences cognitives > Psychologie clinique cognitive et comportementale >]|
|Blairy, Sylvie [Université de Liège - ULg > Département des sciences cognitives > Psychologie clinique cognitive et comportementale >]|
|World Congress of Behavorial and Cognitive Therapies|
|[en] alcoholism ; empathy ; typology ; intention attribution ; emotional facial expression ; emotional contagion|
|[en] The term empathy refers to two related human abilities: mental perspective taking (cognitive empathy) and the vicarious sharing of emotions (emotional empathy). The main object of this study was to explore the relationship between capacities of both aspects of empathy and their relationships with interpersonal difficulties in alcohol-dependant patients (AD). The research in alcoholism empathy has focalised around one aspect of cognitive empathy - the capacity to infer an emotional state-, and that essentially on the basis of emotional facial expression (EFE) recognition. However, researchers have shown little interest in the investigation of the other aspects of cognitive empathy. The present study focuses on the capacity to infer interpersonal intentions and on emotional empathy.
As documented by the research on EFE decoding, AD patients show deficits in cognitive empathy. In this study, we investigated their capacity to infer interpersonal intentions in social situation. We hypothesized that AD patients compared to healthy individuals and to depressed patients will attributed more intentions of reject and of aggressiveness to other people on the basis of their EFE.
In this study, emotional empathy was defined as the modulation of the emotional feeling state of the participant in function of the EFE display by other people. We hypothesized that the modulation in AD patient will be different from the one of healthy people in function of the Cloninger subtype of alcoholism (Cloninger, Bohman, Sigvardsson, 1987). This emotional reactivity will be more important in Type II alcoholism and less important in Type I alcoholism. As Mimicry facilitates feelings of empathy in healthy people, it was also investigated.
Twenty type I AD patients, 20 type II AD patients, 20 depressed patients, and 20 healthy subjects participated to the study. The alcoholism subtype identification was maid according to the criteria from von Knorring, Bohman, von Knorring, and Oreland (1985). The participant completed questionnaires assessing the quality of interpersonal relationships, their usual quantity of alcohol consumption, and, for AD patients, their level of alcohol dependence. Their capacity to recognise faces was evaluated by the Benton facial recognition test.
The empathy tasks were computerized. In the cognitive empathy task, the participants had to evaluate the adequacy (in a 7-point Likert scale) between a film of a face changing from a neutral EFE to an emotional EFE (the photographs come from the material of Matsumoto & Ekman, 1988) and an adjective descriptive of personality. Each adjective was weighted on the interpersonal dimensions of reject, aggressiveness, dominance, and affiliation. In the emotional empathy task, the participants had to evaluate their own emotional feeling state (in a 7-point Likert scale; from very negative to very positive) after watching a series of films depicting emotional faces (same material as before). During this task, the participant’s face was filmed in order to assess mimicry.
The differences of empathy capacities between AD patients and control participants (depressed and healthy) are discussed in reference to the characteristics of their interpersonal relationship.
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