English
 
User Manual Privacy Policy Disclaimer Contact us
  Advanced SearchBrowse

Item

ITEM ACTIONSEXPORT

Released

Journal Article

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

MPS-Authors
/persons/resource/persons19764

Kanske,  Philipp
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons71667

Böckler,  Anne
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department of Psychology, Julius Maximilian University, Würzburg, Germany;

/persons/resource/persons73211

Trautwein,  Fynn-Mathis
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons188885

Parianen Lesemann,  Franca H.
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons20000

Singer,  Tania
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

External Ressource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (public)

Kanske_Böckler_2016.pdf
(Publisher version), 528KB

Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available
Citation

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.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-31FF-D
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.