Report Extremely Positive People Aren't as Good at Empathy

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  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    Which of your friends – the happier, or the more melancholy – is better at spotting your excitement that Chris is attending your birthday, or that a B+ has left you disappointed?

    Evidence suggests that more upbeat people consider themselves especially empathic, and it would be reasonable to believe them, given that they know more people on average, and tend to form deeper, more trusting relationships. The reality, however, is more complicated. New research led by Yale’s Hillary Devlin suggests that cheerful people may think they’re high in empathy, but their confidence outstrips their ability.

    Devlin assessed her 121 adult participants’ level of trait positive affect – essentially their average happy mood from day to day – and asked them how strong they were at empathising. Happier participants believed they were better empathisers in general.

    The researchers next studied videos of people giving a monologue about an autobiographical event. For each of the four videos (two positive events, two negative) participants rated, second-by-second, the level of negative or positive emotion they thought the speaker was currently feeling.

    Read more here. (The British Psychological Society)

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