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Can self-pain sensitivity quantify empathy for others' pain?
Ren, Qiaoyue1,2; Lu, Xuejing1,2; Zhao, Qing3; Zhang, Huijuan1,2; Hu, Li1,2,3
First AuthorRen, Qiaoyue
Correspondent Emailluxj@psych.ac.cn
2020-07-19
Source PublicationPSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY
ISSN0048-5772
Subtypearticle
Pages16
QuartileQ1
Contribution Rank1
Abstract

Empathy is essential for the survival of social species. In many studies, especially those with animal models, empathy for pain was evaluated by the modulation of pain sensitivity. However, the relationship between pain sensitivity and empathy for pain is not well established. Here, by performing two experiments, we aimed to investigate their relationship at both behavioral and electrophysiological levels. In Experiment 1, we characterized individual pain sensitivity using pain threshold and tolerance in a cold pressor test, self-report empathy using Interpersonal Reactivity Index, and pain-related psychological factors, including pain-related anxiety, depression, pain catastrophizing, and pain-related fear, using well-validated questionnaires. We observed that pain sensitivity was positively correlated with emotional empathy, and their relationship was mediated by pain-related anxiety, pain catastrophizing, and pain-related fear. In Experiment 2, we quantified empathy for pain using pain intensity and unpleasantness as well as event-related potentials (ERPs) in an empathy for pain task. Positive correlations were observed between pain sensitivity and psychophysiological empathic responses (i.e., the P3 component and the late positive potential in ERPs), and their relationship was mediated by pain-related fear. These results suggested that being influenced by some pain-related psychological factors, individuals with higher pain sensitivity tended to have stronger empathy for pain, manifested as stronger emotional reactions to others' pain. Our results indicated that the conventional strategy of using pain sensitivity to quantify empathy should be treated with caution, as their relationship could be disturbed by experimental manipulations or pathological modulations that could influence individual emotional states or cognitive processes.

Keywordempathy event-related potentials pain catastrophizing pain sensitivity pain-related anxiety pain-related fear
DOI10.1111/psyp.13637
Indexed BySCI
Language英语
Funding OrganizationNational Natural Science Foundation of China ; 13th Five-year Informatization Plan of Chinese Academy of Sciences ; Scientific Foundation Project of Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Funding ProjectNational Natural Science Foundation of China[31701000] ; National Natural Science Foundation of China[31822025] ; National Natural Science Foundation of China[31671141] ; 13th Five-year Informatization Plan of Chinese Academy of Sciences[XXH13506] ; Scientific Foundation Project of Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences[Y6CX021008]
WOS Research AreaPsychology ; Neurosciences & Neurology ; Physiology
WOS SubjectPsychology, Biological ; Neurosciences ; Physiology ; Psychology ; Psychology, Experimental
WOS IDWOS:000549778100001
PublisherWILEY
WOS KeywordANXIETY SYMPTOMS SCALE ; COLD PRESSOR TASK ; PSYCHOMETRIC PROPERTIES ; NEURAL RESPONSES ; CHINESE VERSION ; SEX-DIFFERENCES ; CONGENITAL INSENSITIVITY ; INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES ; CATASTROPHIZING SCALE ; PREFRONTAL CORTEX
Citation statistics
Document Type期刊论文
Identifierhttp://ir.psych.ac.cn/handle/311026/32259
Collection中国科学院心理健康重点实验室
Corresponding AuthorLu, Xuejing
Affiliation1.Inst Psychol, CAS Key Lab Mental Hlth, 16 Lincui Rd, Beijing 100101, Peoples R China
2.Univ Chinese Acad Sci, Dept Psychol, Beijing, Peoples R China
3.Guangzhou Med Univ, Dept Pain Management, State Key Clin Specialty Pain Med, Affiliated Hosp 2, Guangzhou, Peoples R China
First Author AffilicationKey Laboratory of Mental Health, CAS
Corresponding Author AffilicationKey Laboratory of Mental Health, CAS
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Ren, Qiaoyue,Lu, Xuejing,Zhao, Qing,et al. Can self-pain sensitivity quantify empathy for others' pain?[J]. PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY,2020:16.
APA Ren, Qiaoyue,Lu, Xuejing,Zhao, Qing,Zhang, Huijuan,&Hu, Li.(2020).Can self-pain sensitivity quantify empathy for others' pain?.PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY,16.
MLA Ren, Qiaoyue,et al."Can self-pain sensitivity quantify empathy for others' pain?".PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY (2020):16.
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