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认知和情感共情与负性情绪:情绪调节的作用机制

Associations between Empathy and Negative Affect: Effect of Emotion Regulation

Abstracts

情绪调节在社会情境中对认知和情感共情的影响尚待厘清,这一问题的阐明将有助于理解社会交互中负性情绪的产生和影响机制,为未来的社会认知干预提供理论基础。本文通过问卷调查验证了共情、情绪调节与负性情绪之间的关系,并采用中文版共情准确性任务探讨认知重评策略使用对共情情绪反应的影响。结果发现:情感共情与日常生活中更多的焦虑和压力有关,而认知共情与更少的抑郁情绪相关,认知重评和表达抑制均在共情与负性情绪之间起保护性调节作用;共情准确性任务中,使用认知重评策略能提高个体对他人消极情绪的共情准确性、降低自身的负性情绪体验;在积极情境下还可以增强个体的积极情绪。结果表明情绪调节,特别是认知重评,在认知和情感共情与负性情绪之间发挥着重要作用。

[英文摘要]Empathy refers to understanding, inferring and sharing others’ emotional states, which can be divided into affective and cognitive components. Although empathy contributes to prosocial behaviors and harmonious interpersonal relationships, it also increases an individual’s negative emotional experiences and affect distress. Emotion regulation, the psychological process of managing one’s own emotions, has been found to be closely associated with empathy. Cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression are two commonly used strategies to regulate emotions, of which cognitive reappraisal is effective in reducing negative emotional experiences while expressive suppression is usually correlated with more affective distress. However, the roles of emotion regulation strategies in the empathic response are still unclear.

We conducted two studies to investigate the roles of emotion regulation on the negative affect related to empathy using self-report questionnaires and experimental task respectively. Study 1 administered the Questionnaire of Cognitive and Affective Empathy (QCAE), the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ), and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21) to 442 college students. The moderating effects of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression on the association between empathy and negative affect were examined separately. Study 2 adopted the Chinese version of the Empathic Accuracy Task (EAT) to further examine the effect of emotion regulation (i.e. cognitive reappraisal) on cognitive empathy and affective responses. The EAT requires participants to continuously rate targets’ emotional valence in video clips as a second person and rate emotional valence and arousal of both targets and themselves after each video. Seventy-five participants (33 for experiment 1 and 42 for experiment 2) were recruited to perform the EAT under two conditions, i.e., naturally viewing without any instructions and applying cognitive reappraisal while viewing the scenarios. Paired sample t tests and repeated-measure ANOVA were performed to examine the effect of cognitive reappraisal on task performance.

Findings from Study 1 showed that affective empathy was significantly correlated with higher levels of anxiety and stress, while empathic concern was correlated with less anxiety, stress and depression. However, when participants endorsed cognitive reappraisal more frequently, such positive association between affective empathy and stress was reduced, while the negative association between empathic concern and anxiety was strengthened. Cognitive empathy was significantly correlated with reduced depression. Expressive suppression strengthened the negative association between cognitive empathy and depression. Moreover, a negative correlation between cognitive empathy and anxiety as well as stress emerged for participants endorsing cognitive reappraisal more frequently. Findings from Study 2 showed that task performances of the EAT were significantly improved when participants endorsed cognitive reappraisal strategy compared to the condition of naturally viewing. Specifically, under the cognitive reappraisal condition participants scored higher empathic accuracy, experienced less negative affect in reaction to others’ affect distress, and experienced more positive affect in reaction to others’ positive emotions.

Taken together, the findings from these two studies suggested that both cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression play a protective role in the associations between empathy and negative affect, and the endorsement of cognitive reappraisal would improve task performance on both cognitive and affective empathy. Our findings shed light on the psychological mechanisms of empathy and provide new approach for improving individuals’ social cognitive ability, especially for early intervention in clinical and subclinical populations.

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From: 王 毅
Recommended references: 郭晓栋,郑泓,阮盾,胡丁鼎,王毅,王艳郁,陈楚侨.(2022).认知和情感共情与负性情绪:情绪调节的作用机制.doi:10.12074/202212.00033V1 (Click&Copy)
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[V1] 2022-12-03 12:59:46 chinaXiv:202212.00033V1 Download
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