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Inter-individual Differences in Heart Rate Variability Are Associated with Inter-individual Differences in Empathy and Alexithymia

  • In the present study, we investigated whether inter-individual differences in vagally mediated heart rate variability (vmHRV) would be associated with inter-individual differences in empathy and alexithymia. To this end, we determined resting state HF-HRV in 90 individuals that also completed questionnaires assessing inter-individual differences in empathy and alexithymia. Our categorical and dimensional analyses revealed that inter-individual differences in HF-HRV were differently associated with inter-individual differences in empathy and alexithymia. We found that individuals with high HF-HRV reported more empathy and less alexithymia than individuals with low HF-HRV. Moreover, we even found that an increase in HF-HRV was associated with an increase in empathy and a decrease in alexithymia across all participants. Taken together, these findings indicate that individuals with high HF-HRV are more empathetic and less alexithymic than individuals with low HF-HRV. These differences in empathy and alexithymia may explain why individuals with high HF-HRV are more successful in sharing and understanding the mental and emotional states of others than individuals with low HF-HRV.

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Metadaten
Author: Alexander Lischke, Rike Pahnke, Anett Mau-Moeller, Martin Behrens, Hans J. Grabe, Harald J. Freyberger, Alfons O. Hamm, Matthias Weippert
URN:urn:nbn:de:gbv:9-opus-33191
DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00229
ISSN:1664-1078
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in Psychology
Publisher:Frontiers Media S.A.
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Date of first Publication:2018/02/27
Release Date:2020/10/09
Tag:alexithymia, empathy, high-frequency heart rate variability, social cognition, social interaction, vagus nerve
GND Keyword:-
Volume:9
Faculties:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakult√§t / Institut f√ľr Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung