Empathic accuracy in a clinically relevant setting

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1995 May;68(5):854-69. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.68.5.854.


This study addressed 3 questions regarding empathic accuracy in a clinically relevant setting. First, does the empathic accuracy of a perceiver improve with increased exposure to a target individual? Second, can empathic accuracy be enhanced by providing the perceiver with feedback about the target's actual thoughts and feelings? Third, are there stable individual differences in empathic accuracy that generalize across different targets? The results indicated that although absolute performance levels varied from 1 target to another, empathic accuracy generally improved with increased exposure to the target. In addition, feedback concerning the target's actual thoughts and feelings accelerated the rate at which the perceivers' empathic accuracy improved. Finally, cross-target consistency in responding (alpha = .86) revealed stable individual differences in the perceivers' empathic ability. Implications of these findings for clinical training and practice are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Divorce
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Task Performance and Analysis