An additional antecedent of empathic concern: valuing the welfare of the person in need

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2007 Jul;93(1):65-74. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.93.1.65.


Two experiments examined the role of valuing the welfare of a person in need as an antecedent of empathic concern. Specifically, these experiments explored the relation of such valuing to a well-known antecedent--perspective taking. In Experiment 1, both perspective taking and valuing were manipulated, and each independently increased empathic concern, which, in turn, increased helping behavior. In Experiment 2, only valuing was manipulated. Manipulated valuing increased measured perspective taking and, in part as a result, increased empathic concern, which, in turn, increased helping. Valuing appears to be an important, largely overlooked, situational antecedent of feeling empathy for a person in need.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Altruism
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Helping Behavior
  • Humans
  • Imagination*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Personal Construct Theory
  • Reality Testing*
  • Social Perception
  • Social Values*