Within couple neurophysiological concordance in naturalistic context: do we need to be concordant to empathize?

Research output: Types of ThesisMaster's Thesis


Recently, it has been studied how the autonomic nervous system reflects socioemotional aspects, being interpersonal interactions one of the richest sources of spontaneous emotional response. Consequently, the psychophysiological linkage (PL) has grown in interest and relevance in research and literature, as it is an important indicator of psychoemotional phenomena, such as empathy. The aim of this study is to understand whether there is an association between PL and empathy perceived by each member of the romantic dyad, and if this association varies with emotional valence in an interaction task. In this study, participants (N=24) completed a self-report instrument about perceived empathy regarding their partner, and participated in a dyadic interaction task, in which they explored negative and positive aspects of their partner or relationship. During this task, psychophysiological data was also collected in order to estimate the psychophysiological concordance of the dyad. We found association between PL and dyadic empathy, and we also found differences in PL for both conditions depending on the emotional valence of the interaction, particularly considering skin conductance level. Our results are congruous with the literature and research, suggesting that our physiological responses reflect our emotional and cognitive responses to the context, and thus reflect several socioemotional constructs such as empathy.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Faculty of Education and Psychology
  • Oliveira-Silva, Patrícia, Supervisor
Award date19 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2016


  • Psychophysiological linkage
  • Dyadic empathy
  • Heart rate
  • Skin conductance level
  • Dyadic interaction task


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