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?
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
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
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
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
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.
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