Empathic Accuracy – I Know How You Feel

Empathic accuracy refers to the ability to infer another person’s thoughts and feelings. But how do people arrive at such judgments? Can the person who is being judged contribute to this process? And is empathic accuracy especially important for certain individuals (e.g., people of particular age groups)? We are investigating these questions with a number of studies including participants from different age groups. For example, we are assessing younger and older heterosexual couples’ empathic accuracy in daily life, using mobile phones as assessment instruments. We are also complementing this Experience-Sampling approach with experimental paradigms. Here, we are interested in how people from different age groups experience various emotional events, like emotional films, and how they express their experience with words, facial expressions, or gestures. Furthermore, we are examining the role of empathic abilities for social interactions and relationships from adolescence to old age. Here, we investigate, for example, the role of empathic accuracy for the perceived quality of interactions between younger and older women who met and got to know each other for the first time in in our lab.

Emotion Communication
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Rauers, A., Blanke, E., & Riediger, M. (2013). Everyday empathic accuracy in younger and older couples: Do you need to see your partner to know his or her feelings? Psychological Science, 24, 2210-2217. doi: 10.1177/0956797613490747