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The closer you feel, the more you care: Positive associations between closeness, pain intensity rating, empathic concern and personal distress to someone in pain.

Authors
  • Grynberg, Delphine1
  • Konrath, Sara2
  • 1 Univ. Lille, CNRS, UMR 9193 - SCALab - Sciences Cognitives et Sciences Affectives, F-59000 Lille, France; Institut Universitaire de France, Paris, France. Electronic address: [email protected] , (France)
  • 2 Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN 46202, United States of America. , (India)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Acta psychologica
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2020
Volume
210
Pages
103175–103175
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2020.103175
PMID: 32889494
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Previous research revealed inconsistent findings regarding affective responses when facing someone in pain (i.e., empathic concern and/or personal distress). In this paper, we suggest that the degree of closeness between the observer and the person in pain may account for these contradictory results, such that greater closeness towards this person leads to higher personal distress. To test this hypothesis, we induced either low or high closeness with a confederate in 69 randomly assigned participants. Following the closeness induction, participants evaluated their affective responses (empathic concern and personal distress) and rated the confederate's pain intensity after watching the confederate undergoing a painful cold pressure task. Results showed that, despite the non-significant effect of closeness induction, closeness across both conditions (low and high) was positively correlated with pain intensity rating, empathic concern and personal distress. This study thus suggests that closeness is associated with higher cognitive and affective responses to a person in pain. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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