Facial Mimicry Versus Perspective-Taking: Decoding Instructional Sets As Empathy-Inducing Strategies

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alison Cooke (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Doris Bazzini

Abstract: Much of human interaction and communication comprises verbal and nonverbal information. While verbal communication contains important lexical information, research has shown that nonverbal communication is often more important to the success of an interaction than is verbal. Improper use and interpretations of nonverbal communication have been shown to be related to social and personal distress due, in part, to a lack of understanding and empathy for the target. Previous research has identified both perspective-taking and facial mimicry as potential strategies that can be used to understand or decode nonverbal communication, which promote empathic responding and prosocial behaviors toward a target. The current study sought to understand better these two decoding strategies by presenting participants with an interpersonal situation (a betrayal) that would require the use of empathic responding to achieve conflict resolution between friends. The results demonstrated that when individuals engaged in either of the two decoding strategies, they reported significantly higher empathic understanding of the target and self-other overlap (a prosocial outcome) relative to those not instructed to engage in a particular strategy. These findings support the use of both nonverbal decoding strategies (perspective-taking and facial mimicry) as means of enhancing interpersonal communication.

Additional Information

Cooke, A.N. (2015). Facial Mimicry Versus Perspective-Taking: Decoding Instructional Sets As Empathy-Inducing Strategies. Unpublished master's thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2015
emotions, facial mimicry, perspective-taking, empathy, nonverbal

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