Dear all,

it is a pleasure to announce our next speaker for the onLINe seminar next Friday, 28th of May, at 2 pm CET. Anat Perry from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem will talk about: 

The contribution of different information channels to different facets of empathy

We hope to see many of you there,
your onLINe organizers

(Please contact Sanja Mikulovic for the Zoom link)




Humans often depend on empathy, broadly defined as the ability to understand others’ thoughts and feelings. Empathy encompasses a cognitive dimension, understanding another person’s internal states, as well as an affective dimension, sharing the other person’s emotional states. For both processes, we may rely on auditory and visual cues to extract different kinds of information. In order to better differentiate the roles of the auditory and visual channels in social communication, we’ve created a modified version of the Empathic Accuracy Task, a naturalistic, ecological task and stimuli set that would enable examining different features of the empathic response.

Participants (“targets”) were videotaped describing affective autobiographical events, while we recorded their skin conductance and heart rate measures. Soon after being recorded, targets watched the videos of themselves and used a scale to continuously rate how positive or negative they had felt when telling the story. We now use these stimuli in a variety of paradigms, asking different participants to watch the same videos and, using an identical scale, continuously rate how they believe the targets felt at each moment. Time-series correlations between perceiver inferences and target ratings serve as a quantitative measure of interpersonal understanding (empathic accuracy, a more cognitive measure). Asking perceivers to rate their own affective response, as well as correlating the targets’ and perceivers’ physiological measures, indicate affective synchrony, or experience-sharing. I will present a set of behavioral, psychophysiological, EEG, and lesion data that give new insight on the role of the auditory and visual channels in empathy and social communication.

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