Narrowing down to open up for other people's concerns: Empathic concern can be enhanced by inducing detailed processing

Karl-Andrew Woltin, Olivier Corneille, Vincent Yzerbyt, Jens Foerster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In three experiments inducing a detailed versus abstract processing style using perceptual (Experiment 1), motivational (Experiment 2), and social (Experiment 3) manipulations, we found that empathic concerns are enhanced in contexts associated with a more detailed processing style (i.e., local perceptual scope, prevention motivation, and low power, respectively). Hence, simple contextual changes known to impact on processing styles may influence empathy beyond individual differences. The present findings are discussed in terms of their implications for empathy research and their relation with research on mood and level of construal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-424
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • empathy
  • empathic concern
  • power
  • regulatory focus
  • processing styles

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