Culture of Empathy
Pending - in development
Psychology, Eckerd College
Multidimensional approach to empathy
Studying empathy, helping behavior, and interpersonal conflict.
Empathy: A Social Psychological Approach
Empathy has long been a topic of interest to psychologists, but it has
been studied in a sometimes bewildering number of ways. In this volume,
Mark Davis offers a thorough, evenhanded review of contemporary empathy
research, especially work that has been carried out by social and
personality psychologists.Davis’ approach is explicitly multidimensional.
draws careful distinctions between situational and dispositional
“antecedents” of empathy, cognitive and noncognitive “internal processes,”
affective and nonaffective “intrapersonal outcomes,” and the
“interpersonal behavioral outcomes” that follow.
Davis presents a novel organizational model to help classify and interpret
previous findings. This book will be of value in advanced undergraduate
and graduate courses on altruism, helping, nad moral development.
Interpersonal Reactivity Index
"The Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Davis, 1980, 1983) is a measure of
dispositional empathy that takes as its starting point the notion that
empathy consists of a set of separate but related constructs. The
instrument contains four seven-item subscales, each tapping a separate
facet of empathy.
The perspective taking (PT) scale
measures the reported tendency to spontaneously adopt the
psychological point of view of others in everyday life
try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from
The empathic concern (EC) scale assesses the tendency to experience feelings of sympathy and
compassion for unfortunate others
("I often have tender, concerned
feelings for people less fortunate than me").
The personal distress (PD) scale taps the tendency to experience distress and discomfort in
response to extreme distress in others
("Being in a tense emotional
situation scares me").
The fantasy (FS) scale measures the
tendency to imaginatively transpose oneself into fictional situations
("When I am reading an interesting story or novel, I imagine how I
would feel if the events in the story were happening to me")."
INTERPERSONAL REACTIVITY INDEX (IRI)
"Defines empathy as the “reactions of one individual to the observed
experiences of another (Davis, 1983)..
The following statements inquire about your thoughts and feelings in a
variety of situations. For each item, indicate how well it describes you
by choosing the appropriate letter on the scale at the top of the page:
A, B, C, D, or E. W"
1980 - A
Multidimensional Approach to Individual Differences in Empathy
The development of a multidimensional individual difference measure of
empathy is described. The final version of the instrument consists of
four seven-item subscales, each of which taps a separate aspect of the
global concept "empathy."
scale, the perspective-taking scale,
contains items which assess spontaneous attempts to adopt the
perspectives of other people and see things from their point of view.
Items on the fantasy
scale measure the tendency
to identify with characters in movies, novels, plays and other
The other two subscales
explicitly tap respondents' chronic emotional reactions to the
negative experiences of others.
concern scale inquires
about respondents' feelings of warmth, compassion, and concern for
distress scale measures
the personal feelings of anxiety and discomfort that result from
observing another's negative experience. ...
It is concluded that the new measure
has considerable potential for investigations of the multidimensional
nature of empathy."