The relations of emotionality and regulation to dispositional and situational empathy-related responding

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1994 Apr;66(4):776-97. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.66.4.776.


The purpose of the present study was to examine the prediction of adults' situational and dispositional empathy-related responses from measures of emotionality (emotional intensity and positive and negative affect) and regulation. A multimethod approach including self-reported, facial, and heart rate (HR) responses was used to assess situational vicarious emotional responding; Ss' (and sometimes friends') reports were used to assess the dispositional characteristics. In general, dispositional sympathy, personal distress, and perspective taking exhibited different, conceptually logical patterns of association with indexes of emotionality and regulation. The relations of situational measures of vicarious emotional responding to dispositional emotionality and regulation varied somewhat by type of measure and gender. Findings for facial and HR (for men) measures were primarily for the more evocative empathy-inducing stimulus. In general, the findings provided support for the role of individual differences in emotionality and regulation in empathy-related responding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Emotions*
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory
  • Personality*
  • Social Desirability
  • Surveys and Questionnaires