Interactive effects of interoceptive awareness and finitude salience on empathy

[Speaker] Takahama, Sachiko:1

The mental tracking method of heart rate perception (HRP) is a well-validated index of interoceptive awareness, i.e., afferent information arising from within the body. Although there is a direct association between interoceptive awareness and components of empathy, I investigated whether interoceptive awareness and the perceived finite nature of the lifespan influenced empathy for characters in a video that portrayed a family bond. Participants performed a HRP task and then viewed the video before or after a finitude salience (FS) task, in which they subtracted the years of the historical person's birth from death. Participants with lower scores on the HRP task were emotionally moved by the video only after the FS task, whereas participants with higher scores on the HRP task were moved by the video both before and after the FS task. I conclude that perception of FS allowed people with lower interoceptive awareness to foster empathy.
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