Empathy is the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. Research suggests that empathic people tend to be more generous and concerned with others’ welfare, and they also tend to have happier relationships and greater personal well-being. Empathy can also improve leadership ability and facilitate effective communication.
But research also suggests that people differ in the extent to which they experience empathy. So how empathic are you?
The following quiz will help you find out. It draws from three scientifically validated scales that researchers have created to measure empathy: the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire, developed by Nathan Spreng and his colleagues; the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, developed by Mark Davis; and the Emotion Specific Empathy Questionnaire, developed by Sally Olderbak and her colleagues.
The quiz contains a total of 28 questions. Please answer them as honestly as possible--there are no right or wrong answers. The first 22 will be used to measure your level of empathy; the last six will be used by our research team to understand how empathy relates to factors like gender, birth order, and political orientation.
When you're done, you'll receive your empathy score, along with feedback interpreting this score and tips for strengthening your empathy skills. We'll report next month on what all the scores suggest about the Greater Good community.
Adapted from: Spreng, R. N., McKinnon, M. C., Mar, R. A., & Levine, B. (2009). “The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire.” Journal of Personality Assessment, 91(1), 62-71.
Davis, M. H. (1980). “A multidimensional approach to individual differences in empathy.” JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 10, 85.
Olderbak, S., Sassenrath, C., Keller, J., & Wilhelm, O. (2014). “An emotion-differentiated perspective on empathy with the emotion specific empathy questionnaire.” Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1-14.
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