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Emotion Regulation Moderates the Association between Empathy and Prosocial Behavior.

Lockwood, PL; Seara-Cardoso, A; Viding, E; (2014) Emotion Regulation Moderates the Association between Empathy and Prosocial Behavior. PLoS One , 9 (5) , Article e96555. 10.1371/journal.pone.0096555. Green open access

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Abstract

Theory and evidence suggest that empathy is an important motivating factor for prosocial behaviour and that emotion regulation, i.e. the capacity to exert control over an emotional response, may moderate the degree to which empathy is associated with prosocial behaviour. However, studies to date have not simultaneously explored the associations between different empathic processes and prosocial behaviour, nor whether different types of emotion regulation strategies (e.g. cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) moderate associations between empathy and prosocial behaviour. One hundred-and-ten healthy adults completed questionnaire measures of empathy, emotion regulation and prosocial tendencies. In this sample, both affective and cognitive empathy predicted self-reported prosocial tendencies. In addition, cognitive reappraisal moderated the association between affective empathy and prosocial tendencies. Specifically, there was a significant positive association between empathy and prosocial tendencies for individuals with a low or average tendency to reappraise but not for those with a high tendency to reappraise. Our findings suggest that, in general, empathy is positively associated with prosocial behaviour. However, this association is not significant for individuals with a high tendency for cognitive reappraisal.

Type: Article
Title: Emotion Regulation Moderates the Association between Empathy and Prosocial Behavior.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096555
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0096555
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 Lockwood et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1428917
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