Association Between Personality and Empathy

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Association between Personality and Empathy
The ability to empathise is an important factor in day to day interactions and influences the development of moral reasoning and an effective control of aggression (del Barrio, Aluja, Garcia, 2004) although Penner, Fritzsche, Craiger and Freifield (1995) argues that although prosocial behaviour is usually linked with empathy, the findings insist that it is instead situational. Personality trait ratings and the ability to interpret facial expressions are conducted through questionnaires such as Goldberg’s Unipolar Big-Five Markers to map out personality attributes (Thompson 2008) and Baron-Cohen’s Reading the Mind in the Eyes test (Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Hill, Raste and Plumb, 2001). The basic traits of neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness also known as the Five Factor model are closely linked to an individual’s disposition (Hartmann, Heidesgades, 2006) and through a study on 832 Spanish adolescents using both the Spanish versions of Bryant’s Empathy Index for Children and Adolescents and the Big Five Questionnaire, del Barrio et all (2004) reported that there was a strong correlation between positive traits such as agreeableness and empathy for both boys and girls. Based on previous meta-analytic research that suggest female have a higher aptitude in decoding non-verbal information (Hall, Hutton and Morgan, 2010), Hall states that women indeed have a higher accuracy on facial expression recognition than men. These findings which suggests there is difference in the ability to empathise between men and women. A research was conducted on a sample of psychology students at UoW to determine whether the ability to empathise was associated with personality traits. There personality in accordance with the Five Factor model was assessed using the Mini Markers scale, a shortened version of Goldberg’s Unipolar Big-Five Markers scale (Saucier 1994) and “Reading the Mind in the Eyes”...
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