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Title: The empathy fillip : can training in microexpressions of emotion enhance empathic accuracy?
Author: Eyles, Kieren
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 0280
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2016
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Empathy is a central concern in the counselling process. Though much researched, and broadly commented upon, empathy is still largely understood through the words within a client-counsellor interaction. This semantic focus continues despite converging lines of evidence that suggest other elements of an interaction – for example body language – may be involved in the communication of empathy. In this thesis, the foundations of empathy are examined, focusing on empathy’s professional instantiation. These foundations are then related to the idea that the face, and its ability to express emotion, are an important part of the empathic process. What follows is an experiment testing 60 participants. This was a between groups design, with participants assigned to two even groups; one group receiving training in how emotion appears on the face: using the training program eMETT; the other reading a passage on empathy. Following the intervention, hypothesised group differences were assessed using the following analyses. Firstly, an Independent sample T-test, compared group means on the Ickes Empathic Accuracy paradigm, the measure of empathy used. Secondly, a further Independent sample T-test assessed the effect of eMETT training. Thirdly, an ANCOVA, evaluated whether the obtained results may have been confounded by age difference between the experimental groups. Finally a correlational analyse tested for any relationship between baseline and outcome measures. The hypothesis tested stated: training in facial expressions of emotion will enhance counsellors’ empathic accuracy; a hypothesis for which positive evidence was shown. The implications of this evidence suggest efficacy of the eMETT training to enhance empathic accuracy, though this is qualified through critical examination of the experimental method. Suggestions for refinement of this method are discussed.
Supervisor: Aksentijevic, Aleksandar ; Georgiou, George ; Vos, Joel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Psych.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: empathy ; empathic accuracy ; facial expressions