Definition of Emotional Empathy

Definition of Emotional Empathy
"Emotional Empathy" is defined as one's vicarious experience of another's emotional experiences -- feeling what the other person
feels. In the context of personality measurement, it describes individual differences in the tendency to have emotional empathy
with others. Some individuals tend to be generally more empathic in their dealings with others; they typically experience more of
the feelings others feel, whereas others tend to be generally less empathic. In addition, Emotional Empathy has been found to
relate to generally healthy and adjusted personality functioning and to reflect interpersonal positiveness and skill. The Balanced
Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES) measures both of the aforementioned components of Emotional Empathy (i.e., vicarious
experience of others' feelings; interpersonal positiveness) in a balanced way. It is a completely new scale and is based on a
substantial amount of research evidence derived with an earlier scale developed in my laboratory.
An interesting and extremely important feature of the BEES is that it relates negatively (r = -.50) to interpersonal violence and,
thus, may be useful (as an indirect and subtle measure) for identifying persons who may have a potential to behave in highly
aggressive or violent ways (Mehrabian, 1997b).
Scale Description: Format, Sample Items, Features
The Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES) is in a questionnaire format and is very easy to administer and score. Subjects
report the degree of their agreement or disagreement with each of its 30 items using a 9-point agreement-disagreement scale.
Sample Items of the BEES
Unhappy movie endings haunt me for hours afterward.
I cannot feel much sorrow for those who are responsible for their own misery.
Test Features
Administration: does not require tester to be present
Test format: questionnaire, 30 items
Appropriate population: English fluency, ages 15 and older
Time required for administration: approximately 10 minutes
Scoring: hand scored; yields a single total-scale score; with software, scoring and interpretation are automated
Manual: contains complete scale, scoring directions, norms
Background literature: includes a review article on reliability and validity by Mehrabian, Young, and Sato (1988) on our
earlier scale in this area, the Emotional Empathic Tendency Scale (EETS).