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Which best describes you?
High Affective, High Cognitive 14%  14%  [ 2 ]
High Affective, Low Cognitive 50%  50%  [ 7 ]
Low Affective, High Cognitive 21%  21%  [ 3 ]
Low Affective, Low Cognitive 14%  14%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 14

Magneto
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01 Apr 2022, 1:37 pm

Wiki: Affective and Cognitive empathy.

Because the definitions for affective empathy are so hard to pin down (you can respond appropriately to someone's distress without feeling their distress or being yourself distressed in any way -- and it's a very good thing we can, because whether you're grieving or not some things still need to be done), I'll go with the second part, personal distress, for this poll: "feelings of discomfort and anxiety in response to another's suffering.. But broadened out to what is usually the way it is used: experiencing an emotion in response to another person experiencing that emotion.

Cognitive empathy is a lot less fuzzy: it's the ability to see things from another person's point of view. Per wiki: "the ability to understand another's perspective or mental state."

So, to make it clear, the definitions I'm using are:

Affective empathy: experiencing an emotion in response to another person experiencing that emotion.
Cognitive empathy: the ability to understand another's perspective or mental state..

Personally, for myself, I think I'm significantly higher on cognitive empathy than affective. But that may be because I don't interact with enough people. Still, I do find that I can get my head around other people's perspective better than most (though they may not even be trying, which is just sad). And no, not "putting myself in their shoes" -- *they* are not *me*, and expecting them to react the same as me is not understanding *them* at all.

But I'd like to know how you guys experience it, so, please answer away. :)



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01 Apr 2022, 1:47 pm

I have high affective empathy, and my therapist has said that I'm apparently pretty good at imagining the perspective of other people. It took me quite awhile to get "good" at practicing cognitive empathy though.


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Magneto
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01 Apr 2022, 3:52 pm

I wonder if my depressive/anxious state, which made it very hard to really feel emotions, have prevented me from experiencing affective empathy. Hard to feel another's feelings if you can't really feel feelings...



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01 Apr 2022, 4:09 pm

I think I'm neither high or low for either. People's displays of negative emotion can impact on me quite badly sometimes, but other times it doesn't faze me much. I have some understanding of what other people are feeling, but not always. It's hard to pin that one down because I don't know what's normal with cognitive empathy. It doesn't seem to me that many ordinary people intuitively pick up that much about what others are going through. I think to be convinced I was deficient in the art, I'd have to see NTs divining feelings that I didn't see, and I'd have to hear the target person confirm they were correct. I think people successfully conceal their feelings a lot. But what do I know?



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01 Apr 2022, 4:42 pm

I was pretty bad at cognitive empathy as a kid and life experience helped me understand seeing it. due to visual processing disorder I am still not very good at it. I want to help and "fix" distress when I see /hear it but it doesn't always register. I did animal rehab and rescue for years, seeing them suffer made me feel urgent to do something to help, was a vet tech, humane investigator. I have always had a much harder time recognizing suffering in humans, maybe because words tend to get in the way ( poor audio processing too). Much better at both now I have 70 years of life experience under my belt, but bet I would still not register super high on the scale of perception.


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01 Apr 2022, 5:29 pm

Feeling other people's distress seems more common in females than males, of any neurology. (Actually it is said that males with downs syndrome have a higher emotional empathy ability than most male NTs).

I thought cognitive empathy was the ability to read and understand social cues like body language, which more NTs have than autistics. I don't exactly lack this though.

And I thought affective empathy was the ability to emotionally understand other people's emotions and respecting their feelings, and feel for others a lot, which some NTs tend to lack. In fact I think this sort of empathy is down to personality in some cases, although it seems more common in the non-NTs.

To avoid autism being confused with psychopathy, I think the "lack empathy" trait should be changed to "lack social intuition", as most people define empathy as "something psychopaths lack".


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01 Apr 2022, 6:21 pm

I'm terrible at affective empathy, but pretty good at cognitive empathy......... As long as I have gone through something similar to the person in distress.


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01 Apr 2022, 10:21 pm

Too high for both. :| Which will explain many a thing. I always considered that it made me weak. I try to hide from it, I've tried to; it combined with emotional dysregulation makes me...feel. It doesn't work and avoidance of others is the only option, but that kinda goes against my personality type when I'm capable of interacting with others.

I have a couple of family members that lack empathy to thank for this one (it's both a good and bad thing).



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02 Apr 2022, 1:18 am

I had to read the wikipedia article, but as I understand it Cognitive Empathy (recognizing another's emotional state) should logically lead to Affective Empathy (responding appropriately to another's emotional state).

I'm better at Cognitive Empathy. Affective Empathy takes some work with people I'm not close to.

To excessively simply it (per my understanding)

Person is crying.

They must be sad. (Cognitive Empathy. I deduce their emotional state based on their behavior).

I will give them a hug. (Affective Empathy. I am responding to their emotional state).

If the hug makes them feel better, then this was an appropriate response.

If the hug causes further distress then I failed at Affective Empathy, because I have an Inappropriate response rather than an appropriate one.....

I would have to know the person well enough to know what the appropriate response would be. This is why affective empathy is more difficult with people I am not close to.


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02 Apr 2022, 3:16 am

Quote:
I thought cognitive empathy was the ability to read and understand social cues like body language,


To be quite honest, it's a weasel word. One of the most poorly defined words in common usage. And as such, totally inappropriate to use when discussing psychological conditions. Though I can see why it's used with autism, since autism is a weasel condition, and incredibly poorly defined lump-everything-in category that should have been deprecated a long time ago.

Yes, I want to abolish autism. Not change anyone, or 'cure' anyone, but abolish the category. It wouldn't be the first time psychology has made such a major U-turn. And psychology really, really, really has not given itself any glory over the last, well, since it came into existence. Either behave as a science, or take that white coat off.



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02 Apr 2022, 8:49 am

Strange question but I will try to answer it.

I have very high affective empathy and very low cognitive empathy.
That observation is based on your definition of affective empathy "you can respond appropriately to someone's distress without feeling their distress or being yourself distressed in any way".

I will give an example. When I was a young man, I went down the Grand Canyon in a rubber raft. It was a two week trip. We were miles away from any civilization. I was in a group of around 20 people and 5 guides. Half way through the trip we stopped at a rest area for the night. One of the individuals in the group wondered off. Actually all of us wondered off exploring the area. But one individual was up a hill and fell down and broke his leg. It was a very serious break. You could see his leg broken in two. Now we are miles away from civilization and in the middle of nowhere. One of the guides apparently came across him first and went for help. I stumbled into him a few minutes later. I told him that I would go for help. He said no, someone was already getting help. He said come here and hold my hand. So I followed his request. I could see that he was in great fear. This was a life death situation. So I held his hand for around 15 minutes until others began to show up and arrange to get him back to civilization.

He was going into a state of shock. If I had left. He was all alone and in great fear. But by holding his hand, I allowed him to maintain his sanity.

Now I didn't feel his pain. But I knew he was under severe pain and I could be of help.


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02 Apr 2022, 11:01 am

I'm always confused trying to understand what is empathy.

Is empathy the same as tact? Or kindness? Or sympathy? I really have trouble understanding these.

For me, I often sense that someone is in a bad mood or upset, but don't know what to say or say the wrong thing.
Or sometimes I sense it but only later I think about it and understand it (slow processing).
Is this empathy or lack of empathy?



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02 Apr 2022, 11:16 am

Usually empathy has different meanings for NTs and autistics. With NTs, empathy means an ability to bully. With autistics, the ability to bully means lacking empathy, and so empathy means caring and thoughtful.


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02 Apr 2022, 4:58 pm

Quote:
Yes, I want to abolish autism. Not change anyone, or 'cure' anyone, but abolish the category. It wouldn't be the first time psychology has made such a major U-turn. And psychology really, really, really has not given itself any glory over the last, well, since it came into existence. Either behave as a science, or take that white coat off.


I wish they'd change atypical "autistic" people like myself to "Social Communication Sensory Disorder" (SCSD). Because that's all it is with me. Like ADHD, it will obviously come with more symptoms than the name expresses but is not quite autism. The autism spectrum is becoming more wider every year and soon everyone will be on the autism spectrum if we don't start drawing a line somewhere. I don't have the other symptoms like repetitive stims, special interests, autism meltdowns, inability to communicate feelings, inability to understand most social cues, hyperfocus, and aversion to change. All I have is some sort of invisible social awkwardness that prevents me from making friends properly and having hearing sensitivities and sensitivity to clothing tags. All my other problems are typical ADHD/anxiety traits which contribute to my challenges with making friends. It's so annoying that I have to be lumped together with autism.


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02 Apr 2022, 5:06 pm

When were you diagnosed? And how mild did they say it was? I mean, anxiety can (often/usually does) cause social awkwardness, and sensory sensitivity can aggravate anxiety... what is it that you struggle with?



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02 Apr 2022, 5:15 pm

Magneto wrote:
When were you diagnosed? And how mild did they say it was? I mean, anxiety can (often/usually does) cause social awkwardness, and sensory sensitivity can aggravate anxiety... what is it that you struggle with?


I was diagnosed young in childhood because I had symptoms of autism - even though I could engage in imaginative play with other children, played with toys the "right" way, made normal eye contact from birth, had no special interests, enjoyed company, didn't rock backwards and forwards, and had no desire for rigid routines. OK as a teenager I displayed more autistic traits such as not having friends even though I wanted to, lacking self-awareness and was socially and emotionally behind my peers.

As an adult I struggle with social anxiety, general anxiety, noise sensitivity, overthinking, and depression that comes and goes. I need antidepressants to stable my mood. Also my ADHD symptoms affect my life too.


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