Skip navigation

Individual Differences in Vicarious Pain Perception Linked to Heightened Socially Elicited Emotional States

Individual Differences in Vicarious Pain Perception Linked to Heightened Socially Elicited Emotional States

Botan, Vanessa, Bowling, Natalie C. ORCID: 0000-0001-5784-3664, Banissy, Michael J., Critchley, Hugo and Ward, Jamie (2018) Individual Differences in Vicarious Pain Perception Linked to Heightened Socially Elicited Emotional States. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:2355. ISSN 1664-1078 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02355)

[img]
Preview
PDF (Publisher's PDF - Open Access)
28201 BOWLING_Individual_Differences_in Vicarious_Pain_Perception_(OA)_2018.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (722kB) | Preview
[img]
Preview
PDF (Author Accepted Manuscript)
28201 BOWLING_Individual_Differences_in_Vicarious_Pain_Perception_(AAM)_2018.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (12MB) | Preview

Abstract

For some people (vicarious pain responders), seeing others in pain is experienced as pain felt on their own body and this has been linked to differences in the neurocognitive mechanisms that support empathy. Given that empathy is not a unitary construct, the aim of this study was to establish which empathic traits are more pronounced in vicarious pain responders. The Vicarious Pain Questionnaire (VPQ) was used to divide participants into three groups: (1) non-responders (people who report no pain when seeing someone else experiencing physical pain), (2) sensory-localized responders (report sensory qualities and a localized feeling of pain) and (3) affective-general responders (report a generalized and emotional feeling of pain). Participants completed a series of questionnaires including the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), the Empathy Quotient (EQ), the Helping Attitudes Scale (HAS), and the Emotional Contagion Scale (ECS) as well as The Individualism – Collectivism Interpersonal Assessment Inventory (ICIAI) and a self-other association task. Both groups of vicarious pain responders showed significantly greater emotional contagion and reactivity, but there was no evidence for differences in other empathic traits or self-other associations. Subsequently, the variables were grouped by a factor analysis and three main latent variables were identified. Vicarious pain responders showed greater socially elicited emotional states which included the ECS, the Emotional Reactivity Subscale of EQ and the HAS. These results show that consciously feeling the physical pain of another is mainly linked to heightened emotional contagion and reactivity which together with the HAS loaded on the socially elicited emotional states factor indicating that, in our population, these differences lead to a more helpful rather than avoidant behavior.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2018 Botan, Bowling, Banissy, Critchley and Ward. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Vicarious pain, Affective empathy, Cognitive empathy, Individual differences in pain perception, Self-other distinction
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 17 May 2020 00:38
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: REF 4
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/28201

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics