Technology used to measure empathy

Mar 17, 2007

Researchers in Boston used technology to measure empathy between psychotherapists and their patients.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study of the physiology of shared emotions during live psychotherapy sessions," said Carl Marci, the Harvard psychiatrist who led the study. "We were pleased to find evidence for a biological basis of empathic connections. Our results suggest that therapists perceived as being more empathic have more positive emotional experiences in common with patients."

Marci said research has shown that lack of empathy is the biggest predictor of a poor outcome for patients in psychotherapy. Still, empathy isn't everything, he said.

"Empathy is important, but it's not the whole story," Marci said. "It's not sufficient to determine the outcome of therapy."

In a study published in the February issue of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Merci and his colleagues described using a combination of skin sensors and videotapes viewed by neutral observers to measure empathy. They said their results suggest a nervous network for empathy and emotional response that is "implicated in the ability to take another's emotional perspective."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Finding psychological insights through social media

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google hits back at rivals with futuristic HQ plan

21 hours ago

Google unveiled plans Friday for a new campus headquarters integrating wildlife and sweeping waterways, aiming to make a big statement in Silicon Valley—which is already seeing ambitious projects from Apple ...

Recommended for you

Finding psychological insights through social media

14 hours ago

Social media has opened up a new digital world for psychology research. Four researchers will be discussing new methods of language analysis, and how social media can be leveraged to study personality, mental and physical ...

Aggressive boys tend to develop into physically stronger teens

Feb 27, 2015

Boys who show aggressive tendencies develop greater physical strength as teenagers than boys who are not aggressive, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Scienc ...

New app helps monitor depression

Feb 27, 2015

Scientists from the University of Birmingham have developed an app that can measure the activity patterns of patients with depression and provide the necessary support.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.