The authors would like to thank Salvatore Capobianco, Jeffrey Howard, and James MacDougall for their assistance as expert judges, and two anonymous reviewers for their very useful comments on an earlier version of this article.
The Heritability of Characteristics Associated with Dispositional Empathy
Article first published online: 28 APR 2006
Journal of Personality
Volume 62, Issue 3, pages 369–391, September 1994
How to Cite
Davis, M. H., Luce, C. and Kraus, S. J. (1994), The Heritability of Characteristics Associated with Dispositional Empathy. Journal of Personality, 62: 369–391. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1994.tb00302.x
- Issue published online: 28 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 28 APR 2006
- Manuscript received January 11, 1993; revised June 28, 1993.
ABSTRACT This investigation used data from Loehlin and Nichols's (1976) study of over 800 sets of twins to examine evidence for the heritability of three facets of empathy: empathic concern, personal distress, and perspective taking. Expert judges first identified sets of adjectives, included within Loehlin and Nichols's original data, which reflected each empathy construct; these items were then validated in an independent sample. Comparisons of the responses given to these items by identical and fraternal twins in the Loehlin and Nichols investigation revealed evidence of significant heritability for characteristics associated with the two affective facets of empathy—empathic concern and personal distress—but not for the nonaffective construct of perspective taking. This pattern is consistent with the view that temperamental emotionality may underlie the heritability of affective empathy.