Empathic Accuracy

Empathic Inference
Everyday mind reading taht we do when we try to infer another person's thoughts and feelings
Empathic Accuracy
The extend to which those inferences are correct
Importance of Empathic Accuracy
The ability to accurately detect and interpret others' thoughts and feels is believed to be very important interpersonal skill
Carol Rogers
Interested in a therapist's ability to make accurate inferences about a client's thoughts and feelings
Goleman (1995)
Empathic accuracy is important in all social interactions and develops early in life & predicts success of social interactions across the lifespan
Assessment of Empathic Accuracy
Couples interact then review the tape and stop it whenever he/she recalls having a specific thought. Other partner watches the tape and the experimenter stops it at same location
Standard stimulus paradigm
All judges are shown a common set of targets who were videotyapd during some type of social interaction
Operationalization of Accuray
Accuracy is indicated by the degree of match between the target's report and the judge's inference
Can we accurately read someone else's mind?
judges tend to achieve between 38% and 55% accuracy
Does acquaintanceship matter for reading other's minds?
Friends= 41%
Dating Partners= 51%
Women tend to do a bit better than men (46%, 39%)
The diagnosticity of a target's behavior makes a difference
Does empathic accuracy foster successful interactions?
in mixed-sex dyads, empathic accuracy tended to be positively correlated with measure of interaction quality
Those that were more empathically accurate were perceived more favorably by their clients
Does empathic accuracy relate to relationship quality?
Yes, but there is a paradox. EA is not always positively correlated with realtionship quality and functioning
satisfied couples are generally more accurate overall. During conflict resolution discussions, members of happy couples are more empathically accurate. Can accurately infer their partner's emotion and judge his/her intention and goals. During conversations, tend to report experiencing less discrepant interpretations of one another's communications
^EA down Quality/satisfaction
Partners who were engaged in a conflict interaction were happier and felt closer to their partner when they were less empathically accurate. Example: Can't tell that partner is looking at someone else
Resolving the paradox
is partner's behavior threatening or nonthreatening to the relationship? If nonthreatening, then there is a positive correlation (EA --> higher satisfaction). If threatening, then negative correlation (EA --> lower satisfaction)