The relation between empathy (defined as the ability to perceive accurately how another person is feeling) and physiology was studied in 31 Ss. Ss viewed 15-min marital interactions and used a rating dial to indicate continuously how they thought at designated spouse was feeling. Rating accuracy was determined by comparing Ss' ratings with identical self-ratings obtained previously from the target spouse. Physiological linkage between S and target was determined using bivariate time-series analyses applied to 5 autonomic and somatic measures obtained from the S during the rating task and from the target spouse during the original conversation. Accuracy of rating negative emotion was greatest when S and target evidenced high levels of physiological linkage across time. Accuracy of dtecting positive emotion was related to a state of low cardiovascular arousal in the S, but not to physiological linkage between S and target.
Ausman, J. I. (2003, April 1). Why everyone picks on doctors. Surgical Neurology, 59(4), 336–337. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0090-3019(03)00156-3