Julia Ayache, Guillaume Dumas, Alexander Sumich, Daria J Kuss, Darren Rhodes, Nadja Heym
Personality and Individual Differences
Publication year: 2024


Empathy is a multidimensional construct, which has been subject to many conceptualizations (affective, cognitive, and motor components). The present investigation delineated relationships between empathy facets, using questionnaires and a motor task measuring synchrony, a non-verbal component of social interactions. Participants (N = 276) completed self-report trait measures of affective, cognitive and motor empathy. A subsample (N = 202) executed synchronous movement with a virtual agent driven by a dynamical model of behavioral synchrony. Confirmatory Factor Analyses (CFA) revealed associated, yet distinct constructs of affective and motor empathy, distinguishing somatic and kinesthetic facets. Synchrony scores were associated with affective and cognitive empathy, highlighting the role of the capacity to experience and predict others’ emotions and mental states for behavioral synchrony. Yet, synchrony scores were negatively associated with kinesthetic empathy, stressing the distinction between self-report measures of motor empathy from effective behavioral synchrony. These findings support a convergence of empathy and synchrony research fields to better understand their respective contribution in non-verbal social interactions.


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