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The role of empathy in the motivational structure of school children

Authors
Journal
Personality and Individual Differences
0191-8869
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
13
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0191-8869(92)90042-n
Disciplines
  • Education
  • Psychology

Abstract

Abstract This investigation concerns personality psychology, searching for individual differences in empathy and impulsivity, which are supposed to be contrasting personality traits. The authors analyze correlations between the two personality traits and different motivational structures, composed of the affective, cognitive and moral domains of motivation. In the author's hypothesis, empathy and impulsivity are in connection with all three domains of motivation, especially with the moral one, and a contrasting connection of the two traits with the moral motivation is supposed. The research used a personality inventory and a motivational questionnaire, and involved some 1200 Hungarian pupils, from 13 to 15 yr. The results show a strong positive correlation of empathy and a negative correlation of impulsivity with moral motivation. In interpreting the results, authors emphasize the point of view of morality and moral education which seems to be a neglected topic in modern studies. A developmental theory of emphatic function and its connections with intimacy, time factor and social values are outlined.

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