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Empathy and universal values explicated by the empathy-altruism hypothesis
University of Skövde.
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Psychology and organization studies. University of Skövde.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0629-353X
2016 (English)In: Journal of Social Psychology, ISSN 0022-4545, E-ISSN 1940-1183, Vol. 156, no 6, 610-619 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Research reports that empathy is on the decline in present-day society, together with an increasing trend in self-enhancing values. Based on the empathy-altruism hypothesis, we investigated whether these constructs are interlinked by analyzing the relationships between emotional and cognitive empathy and 10 universal values. In the first study, using a middle-aged U.S. sample, the results showed that empathy was strongly and positively related to altruistic values and negatively to self-enhancing values in a pattern that aligned with the empathy-altruism hypothesis. In a second confirmation study, these findings were replicated and extended, while also controlling for the Big Five personality traits, to discount that empathy is only captured by basic personality. Only emotional empathy, not cognitive empathy, accounted for up to 18% additional variance in altruistic values, which further confirmed the emphasis on feelings, as postulated by the empathy-altruism hypothesis. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 156, no 6, 610-619 p.
Keyword [en]
Empathy, empathy-altruism hypothesis, personality traits, values
National Category
Social Psychology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-9685DOI: 10.1080/00224545.2016.1152212ISI: 000386855100005PubMedID: 26885864ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84961116222OAI: diva2:1057032
Available from: 2016-12-16 Created: 2016-08-10 Last updated: 2016-12-22Bibliographically approved

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Kajonius, Petri
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