Correlatos neuroimagiológicos da resposta empática em psicoterapeutas

  • Arianna Valentina Ferrante (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The present study intends to evaluate the empathic attitude of Portuguese psychotherapists and the role of emotion regulation. In this sense, to better understand this construct, the following variables are considered: emotional regulation, brain volumetry, and the participant's sex, to study whether the emotional regulation capacity and the volumetry of some brain areas are associated with the influence on the development of an empathic response, as well as whether it differs between females and males. Twenty-eight psychotherapists with at least one year of clinical experience participated in this study. Besides the self-report, a more ecological task using vignettes that require an empathic response was administered, while neuroimaging data was collected to evaluate brain volume. The results demonstrate that there are no differences between men and women in terms of brain volume or the performance of empathic behavioral tasks, contrary to self-report in which women present themselves as more empathic than men. The data also demonstrate that there is no relationship between the level of emotional regulation and empathic capacity in this sample. And finally, the orbital frontal lobe, the superior temporal lobe, and the fusiform area stood out in the volumetric analysis, demonstrating these areas’ relevant role in the empathic capacity.
Date of Award15 Jul 2022
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPatrícia Oliveira-Silva (Supervisor)


  • Psychotherapists
  • Empathy
  • Emotion regulation
  • Sex
  • Voxel-based morphometry


  • Mestrado em Psicologia

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