ERIC Number: ED233257
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Effects of Empathy on Perceptions of a Self-Discloser.
Archer, Richard L.; Stephenson, Blair
Listening to an intimate self-diclosure does not always generate attraction for the revealer. One factor which may influence the relationship between disclosure and attraction is emotional empathy (i.e, an observer's reacting emotionally because he/she perceives that another is experiencing an emotion). To investigate whether emotional empathy on the part of the listener would increase the effect of a negative, intimate self-disclosure on attraction to the revealer, female undergraduates (N=86) were assigned in equal numbers to the eight manipulated conditions of a 2 (perceptual set) by 2 (intimacy) by 2 (responsibility) design. In groups of two, the subjects were assigned a list of 15 self-description topics. Subjects watching their partner's self-description actually saw one of four videotapes in which the confederate's disclosure varied in intimacy level, or in level of responsibility. Following the videotaped disclosure, subjects completed a mood, and an impression questionnaire. The multiple regression design used for analysis included empathy as a dispositional trait, empathy as a manipulated perceptual set, intimacy-level of the disclosure, and responsibility for the disclosed event as predictors. Results showed that dispositional empathy was associated with greater differences in perceived intimacy, and a tendency to interpret disclosures as an indicator of attraction from the revealer. Dispositional empathy was not associated with greater attraction to the revealer, and perceptual set had no effect on perceptions. (WAS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Texas Univ., Austin. Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.; National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Intimacy; Self Disclosure
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Southwestern Psychological Association (29th, San Antonio, TX, April 21-23, 1983).