1932

Abstract

Empathic accuracy is the ability to infer another person's inner states. While early findings suggested older adults to be less empathically accurate on average than younger individuals, the context dependency of such age differences was emphasized more recently. Comparable empathic accuracy was observed in older and younger empathizers when conversational topics were positive or personally relevant or when empathic judgments were solely based on prior knowledge of the target. Motivational and cognitive mechanisms are assumed to underlie this context-dependent pattern of findings. A refined future understanding of the sources of variation in empathic skills within and across age groups will require unraveling the contributions of the empathizer, the target person, and their relationship. Moreover, improved insights into the implications of empathic skills in various phases of adulthood, including older adults’ social functioning and health, will require joint consideration of cognitive and affective components of empathy and their accompanying physiological processes.

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2020-12-15
2024-05-24
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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