Personality, empathy and the social brain: empirical evidence using a multimodal approach

[Speaker] Haas, Brian W:1
1:University of Georiga (United States of America)

There exist individual difference markers that correspond to being able to optimally navigate through complex social situations. By understanding the way people differ in their ability to be empathic, we may improve the way people work together during their social relationships. In a series of studies, we demonstrate how individual differences in empathy are associated with behavioral and neural metrics. We show that people high in trait empathy tend to make decisions about ambiguous emotional stimuli (surprised faces) less quickly than people low in trait empathy. Furthermore, we show that personality is associated with the ability to understand the emotional states of other people and with brain activity within regions involved in theory of mind and mentalizing. These findings advance the understanding of the way people differ in empathic processing and improves the way behavioral and neuroscience measures can be combined and used to characterize individual differences in social cognition.
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