Dissociating Cognitive and Affective Empathy

Dissociating Cognitive and Affective Empathy

Talk given at the 17th annual undergraduate research symposium

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Jake Thompson

April 26, 2014
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Transcript

  1. Undergraduate Research Symposium April 26, 2014 DISSOCIATING COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE

    EMPATHY W. Jake Thompson Advisor: Dr. Evangelia G. Chrysikou Department of Psychology University of Kansas
  2. ¡  Empathy: the ability to (a) correctly recognize the emotions

    of others, and (b) respond in an emotionally appropriate way to different situations (Hooker et al., 2010). §  Cognitive Empathy: perspective taking, emotion recognition, placing oneself emotionally in a situation §  Affective Empathy: personal distress, affective responsiveness, emotional contagion WHAT IS EMPATHY?
  3. IMPAIRED COGNITIVE EMPATHY

  4. IMPAIRED AFFECTIVE EMPATHY

  5. ¡  Research on empathy in social situations indicates that there

    is a dissociation between these two processes (Masten et al., 2010). ¡  Empathy is not an automatic process, but requires significant cognitive resources (De Lissnyder et al., 2012). PREVIOUS RESEARCH
  6. ¡  Rumination hurts performance on processes that require cognitive flexibility

    such as empathy (Altamirano et al., 2010). ¡  The cognitive inflexibility and prevalence of rumination in depression have been closely associated with deficits in empathic processing that are associated with the disorder (Thoma et al., 2011). EMPATHY AND DEPRESSION
  7. EMPATHY AND DEPRESSION ¡  Similar brain regions involved (Koenigs &

    Grafman, 2009; Shamay-Tsoory et al., 2009). ¡  Ventromedial PFC §  Cognitive Empathy §  Elevated activity in depression ¡  Dorsolateral PFC §  Affective Empathy §  Decreased activity in depression
  8. IS THERE A DISSOCIATION BETWEEN THESE PROCESSES IN DEPRESSION?

  9. ¡  The present study aims to build on past findings

    by exploring the extent to which ruminative thought in depression impacts an individual’s empathic abilities. ¡  We aim to: 1.  Develop a behavioral measure of affective empathy. 2.  Explore differences in empathic abilities within the context of major depressive disorder. CURRENT STUDY
  10. ¡  Emotional Load: “Think about a time when you were

    sad.” ¡  Non-Emotional Load: “Think about how one would normally make breakfast.” ¡  No Load: Straight into tasks. RUMINATION MANIPULATION
  11. ¡  Can participants accurately identify emotions? ¡  Reading the Mind

    in the Eyes (Baron-Cohen et al., 2001). ¡  Performance evaluated by accuracy and reaction time. BEHAVIORAL MEASURE: COGNITIVE EMPATHY
  12. MIND IN THE EYES

  13. Time à

  14. ¡ Do participants have an affective reaction to emotional stimuli? ¡ Lexical

    Decision Task §  Emotional Prime: Happy, Sad, or Neutral Face. §  Target: Positive, Negative, or Non-word. §  High affective empathy should show greater priming effects. BEHAVIORAL MEASURE: AFFECTIVE EMPATHY
  15. ¡  Normally eyes see two slightly different but very similar

    images. ¡  When presented with very different images, the brain is unable to combine them, and the images alter between dominant and suppressed. BINOCULAR RIVALRY
  16. None
  17. Time à

  18. ¡  Depression §  SCID-I Diagnosis §  BDI ≥ 13 ¡ 

    Age §  Range: 18 - 21 §  Healthy mean: 18.65 §  Depressed mean: 19.00 ¡  Gender §  Healthy: 56.8% female. §  Depressed: 88.2% female. PARTICIPANTS Healthy Depressed Emotional Load n = 12 n = 6 Non- Emotional Load n = 12 n = 6 No Load n = 13 n = 5
  19. ¡  We found a significant interaction between depression and rumination/mood

    condition. §  Rumination only had a significant effect on the depressed individuals. §  Depression only had a significant effect on the “No Load” rumination condition. ¡  There was a significant difference between depressed and healthy participants within rumination conditions. ¡  We also found that rumination manipulation affected controls and depressed individuals differently. RESULTS – AFFECTIVE EMPATHY
  20. ALL WORDS Interaction: F(2,48) = 4.13, p = .02 0

    100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 No Load Breakfast Emotional Reaction Time (ms) Controls Depressed p = .02 p = .14
  21. ALL WORDS Interaction: F(2,48) = 4.13, p = .02 0

    100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 Controls Depressed Reaction Time (ms) No Load Breakfast Emotional p = .04 Non-Significant
  22. 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900

    Controls Depressed Reaction Time (ms) No Load Breakfast Emotional HAPPY WORDS Interaction: F(2,48) = 4.30, p = .02 p = .03 Non-Significant
  23. 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900

    Controls Depressed Reaction Time (ms) No Load Breakfast Emotional SAD WORDS Interaction: F(2,48) = 3.35, p = .04 p = .06 Non-Significant
  24. RESULTS – COGNITIVE EMPATHY ¡  We found a marginally significant

    interaction between depression and rumination, and there were no significant main effects. §  Depression once again only had a significant effect in the “No Load” condition, and rumination only had an effect for depressed individuals. §  However, this relationship was not as strong as what was seen on the Lexical Decision task.
  25. 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 No

    Load Breakfast Emotional Reaction Time (ms) Controls Depressed READING THE MIND IN THE EYES Interaction: F(2,48) = 2.92, p = .06 p = .02
  26. READING THE MIND IN THE EYES Interaction: F(2,48) = 2.92,

    p = .06 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 Controls Depressed Reaction Time (ms) No Load Breakfast Emotional p = .04 Non-Significant
  27. ¡  A MANOVA was conducted on the 5 subscales of

    the EAI. ¡  The rumination condition did not show an effect on responses. ¡  Depression did show a significant effect on responses to several subscales. EMPATHY ASSESSMENT INDEX
  28. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18

    Affective Responsiveness Emotion Regulation Perspective Taking Self-Other Awareness Empathic Attitudes Subscale Score Controls Depressed EMPATHY ASSESSMENT INDEX p < .01 Depression Main Effect: Pillai’s Trace = .477 (F(5,44) = 8.03, p < .001) p < .01 p = .05 p < .01
  29. ¡  Our findings support a dissociation between affective and cognitive

    empathy in depression during rumination on negative events. ¡  The negative rumination only had an effect on depressed individuals, and specifically affected the response to happy words in the affective empathy task. ¡  The differences on cognitive empathy were small, and only marginally significant. ¡  Findings from self-reports support the behavioral findings. CONCLUSIONS
  30. This research was supported by the Center for Undergraduate Research,

    as well as the University Honors Program. A special thanks to Dr. Chrysikou and the Chrysikou Lab for their support and guidance throughout the project. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS