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 ...view middle of the document...
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” test was used to assess their ability to determine their level of emotion recognition.
For this study I hypothesised that based on previous research by del Barrio et al (2004) and Hall et al (2010) that the students with positive personality traits have higher levels of empathy and that female students in particular will be able to discern more accurately the emotions being relayed in the tests.
Saucier, G. (1994). Mini-Markers: A brief version of Goldberg's unipolar Big-Five markers. Journal of Personality Assessment, 63, 506 - 516.
Penner, L. A., Fritzsche, B. A., Craiger, J. P., & Freifeld, T. R. (1995) Measuring the Prosocial Personality. Advances in Personality Assessment, 10.
Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., & Jolliffe, T. (1997). Is there a “Language of the Eyes”? Evidence from normal adults, and adults with Autism or Asperger Syndrome. Visual Cognition, 4 (3), 311 – 331.
del Barrio, V. Aluja, A., & Garcia, L.F. (2004). Relationship between empathy and the Big Five personality traits in a sample of Spanish adolescents. Social Behavior and Personality, 32 (7), 677 – 682.
Hartmann, P. Heidesgade, A. (2006). The Five-Factor Model: Psychometric, Biological and Practical Perspectives. Nordic Psychology, 58 (2), 150 – 170.
Thompson, E. R. (2008) Development and Validation of an International English Big-Five Mini-Markers. Personality and Individual Differences, 45 (6), 542 – 548
Hall, J. K., Hutton, S .B., & Morgan, M. J. (2010). Sex Differences in Scanning Faces: Does Attention to the Eyes Explain Female Superiority in Facial Expression Recognition. Cognition and Emotion, 24 (4), 629 – 637.