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Bringing everyday mind reading into everyday life: assessing empathic accuracy with daily diary data

Bringing everyday mind reading into everyday life: assessing empathic accuracy with daily diary data

Journal of Personality 78(5): 1437-1468

Individual differences in empathic accuracy (EA) can be assessed using daily diary methods as a complement to more commonly used lab-based behavioral observations. Using electronic dyadic diaries, we distinguished among elements of EA (i.e., accuracy in levels, scatter, and pattern, regarding both positive and negative moods) and examined them as phenomena at both the day and the person level. In a 3-week diary study of cohabiting partners, we found support for differentiating these elements. The proposed indices reflect differing aspects of accuracy, with considerable similarity among same-valenced accuracy indices. Overall there was greater accuracy regarding negative target moods than positive target moods. These methods and findings take the phenomenon of "everyday mindreading" (Ickes, 2003) into everyday life. We conclude by discussing empathic accuracies as a family of capacities for, or tendencies toward, accurate interpersonal sensitivity. Members of this family may have distinct associations with the perceiver's, target's, and relationship's well-being.

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Accession: 051868886

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 20663026

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2010.00657.x

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