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  Are strong empathizers better mentalizers?: Evidence for independence and interaction between the routes of social cognition

Kanske, P., Böckler, A., Trautwein, F.-M., Parianen Lesemann, F. H., & Singer, T. (2016). Are strong empathizers better mentalizers?: Evidence for independence and interaction between the routes of social cognition. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11(9), 1382-1392. doi:10.1093/scan/nsw052.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-31FF-D Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-6074-E
Genre: Journal Article

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Kanske_Böckler_2016.pdf (Publisher version), 528KB
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 Creators:
Kanske, Philipp1, Author              
Böckler, Anne1, 2, Author              
Trautwein, Fynn-Mathis1, Author              
Parianen Lesemann, Franca H.1, Author              
Singer, Tania1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634552              
2Department of Psychology, Julius Maximilian University, Würzburg, Germany, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: Social cognition; Empathy; Theory of mind; Mentalizing; fMRI; Dynamic causal modeling.
 Abstract: Although the processes that underlie sharing others’ emotions (empathy) and understanding others’ mental states (mentalizing, Theory of Mind) have received increasing attention, it is yet unclear how they relate to each other. For instance, are people who strongly empathize with others also more proficient in mentalizing? And (how) do the neural networks supporting empathy and mentalizing interact? Assessing both functions simultaneously in a large sample (N = 178), we show that people’s capacities to empathize and mentalize are independent, both on a behavioral and neural level. Thus, strong empathizers are not necessarily proficient mentalizers, arguing against a general capacity of social understanding. Second, we applied dynamic causal modeling to investigate how the neural networks underlying empathy and mentalizing are orchestrated in naturalistic social settings. Results reveal that in highly emotional situations, empathic sharing can inhibit mentalizing-related activity and thereby harm mentalizing performance. Taken together, our findings speak against a unitary construct of social understanding and suggest flexible interplay of distinct social functions.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2016-04-112015-11-122016-04-122016-04-282016-09
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsw052
PMID: 27129794
PMC: PMC5015801
Other: Epub 2016
 Degree: -

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Title: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
  Other : SCAN
  Abbreviation : Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Oxford : Oxford University Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 11 (9) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 1382 - 1392 Identifier: ISSN: 1749-5016
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1000000000223760