Empathic accuracy: Associations with prosocial behavior and self-insecurity

Nathaniel S. Eckland, Alice B. Huang, Howard Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Empathic accuracy, or the degree to which one accurately understands another person's emotions, is widely thought to be related to better social functioning. However, empirical tests of this assumed relationship are quite scarce. We tested the hypotheses that people higher in empathic accuracy would be more likely to engage in prosocial behavior and report lower self-insecurity (rejection of their own weaknesses). In a large sample (N = 211) of undergraduates, we administered behavioral measures of empathic accuracy and helping, and self-reported self-insecurity. We found that people who were more accurate in detecting others' negative emotions were significantly more likely to help a confederate in need, and reported marginally lower self-insecurity. We found a nonsignificant association between empathic accuracy of positive emotions and helping, and no association between empathic accuracy of positive emotions and self-insecurity. Our findings suggest accurate emotion perception and healthy self-evaluation may be important for being prosocial. We discuss implications for social emotion regulation and relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1306-1310
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Empathic accuracy
  • Empathy
  • Helping behavior
  • Prosociality
  • Self-insecurity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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