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  • 1.
    Persson, Björn N.
    et al.
    University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre.
    Kajonius, Petri J.
    University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Department of Behavioral Sciences, University West, Sweden / Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Empathy and Universal Values Explicated by the Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis2016In: Journal of Social Psychology, ISSN 0022-4545, E-ISSN 1940-1183, Vol. 156, no 6, p. 610-619Article in journal (Refereed)
    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 US sample, the results showed that empathy was strongly and positively related to altruistic values and negatively to self-enhancing values in a pattern which 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.

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