Fast and Slow Empathic Perceptions in Couples’ Daily Lives Use Different Cues

Haran Sened, Eran Bar-Kalifa, Rony Pshedetzky-Shochat, Marci Gleason, Eshkol Rafaeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Empathic accuracy, the ability to infer another person’s emotions, thoughts, and other fleeting mental states, has been linked to assumed similarity (wherein the perceiver assumes that another person’s mental states are similar to their own) and direct accuracy (wherein the perceiver uses various external cues to reach their judgment). Previous research has linked this component model, as well as dual process models, to neuroscientific models of empathy, but has not linked these components with dual process accounts directly. Thus, we examined whether assumed similarity involves rapid (type-1) processing while direct accuracy involves slower (type-2) inferences. In three dyadic daily diary samples (total N = 262 romantic couples), we examined associations between both components and response times. As expected, direct accuracy, but not assumed similarity, was associated with slower response times. Our findings suggest links between previously disparate lines of research and identify situations which may tip the balance between the empathic components.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-96
Number of pages10
JournalAffective Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


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