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EXCHANGE OF SELF FOR OTHERS: ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN SOCIAL AWARENESS, SELF-COMPASSION, AND SATISFACTION IN SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS BY MARGARET deCORDRE' A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts in Psychology Under the sponsorship of Dr. Steven Graham Sarasota, Florida January, 2011
Exchange of Self for Oth ers ii Acknowledgments Thanks to Dr. Steven Graham whose ample encouragement, guidance, discernment and patience provided an impetus for both the evolution of this thesis and my intellectual development overall. I would al so like to thank Dr. Charlene Callahan and Dr. Heidi Harley for not only serving as me mbers of my committee, but also for their ardent and insightful influen ces throughout my time here. Thank you and boundless love to the sticksJack, Liz, and Brittney. You must know that it was your endl essly distracting and bri ghtening support which both strengthened me the most and in stilled in me that 'a bundle of sticks is hard to break.' Many thanks to my parents for their im practical yet fondly exemplary foundation. To any loved ones who have and co ntinue to enable me to deve lop in all of the ways that I had ever intended or hoped. To Chris, Moriah, Zoe, Jennie, Stephanie, our infamous Pei 140, the completely unexpected graces of my time here, and to bobcat.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers iii Table of Contents Page ACKNOWLDGEMENTS....ii TABLE OF CONTENTS.....iii ABSTRACT......v INTRODUCTION.....1 Self-Compassion....2 Compassion vs. Sympathy. Awareness of Common Humanity PERSPECTIVE-TAKING...15 Social Awareness..20 Perspective Taking & Improved Social Functioning.......21 THE PRESENT STUDIES..23 STUDY 1 Method.. Results... Discussion..... STUDY 2 Method.......34 Results....37 Discussion..
Exchange of Self for Oth ers iv GENERAL DISCUSSION Review.. Limitations.... What Makes Positive Interperso nal Relationships Possible?...........................43 Implications of Self-Com passion and Social Healing..45 REFERENCES.....48 APPENDICES......58 TABLES...70
Exchange of Self for Oth ers v EXCHANGE OF SELF FOR OTHERS: ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN SOCIAL AWARENESS, SELF-COMPASSION, AND SATISFACTION IN SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS Meg deCordre' New College of Florida 2011 ABSTRACT Self-compassion is a recently proposed construct based in Buddhist philosophy which represents fostering a warm and comf orting attitude towards those aspects of oneself and one's life that are disliked. Th e current studies examined self-compassion from within the context of two distinct forms of social awareness styles: imagine other and imagine self. Two studies used the Self-Compassion Scale (Neff, 2003a) to examine self-compassions association with so cial awareness style, attribution-making, and perceived satisfaction in relationships. For the first study, perspective-taking was assessed using the Social Awareness Inventory (Sheldon, 1996). In a second study, participants were placed in ei ther a imagine other, imagine self, or objective perspectivetaking condition and were instructed to wr ite about a time they witnessed a peer experience a negative event. In opposition to the hypothesis, social awareness style was not related to self-compassion. In line w ith the expected results, however, selfcompassion was related to relationship satis faction. Additionally, common humanity, a main constituent of self-compassion, was found to be associated with both the imagine other perspective-taking style as well as satisfaction in social relationships. Dr. Steven Graham Division of Social Sciences
Exchange of Self for Others 1 Exchange of Self for Others: Associations Between Social Awareness, Self-Compassion, and Satisfaction in Social Relationships This research aims to contribute to the recent, growing literature on selfcompassion, social awareness (social perspective-taking) and human connectedness. Buddhist based psychology has begun to build a robust argument in the last few years for the crucial role that compassionate empa thy, self-compassion, and human connectedness play in individual and social psychological well-being (e.g., G ilbert, 2005; Neff, 2003a.; Neff, 2009). An intrinsic longing for connect edness among people may have spurred the search for a deeper understandi ng of perceptions of selves an d others. As Bataille (1962) effectually wrote, Between one being and another, there is a discontinuity...what we desire is to bring into a world founded on di scontinuity all the continuity such a world can sustain (p. 19). Jung (1925/1959) expanded upon this view in his explanation of the role of relationship partners in offering compan ions new aspects of the self that might be otherwise unavailable in an attempt to make oneself whole. Ma slow (1967) did not position love and belonging at the top on his spectrum of hu man needs, however he still argued that beloved people can be incorporated into the self (p. 103). Aron and Aron (1996) theorized that this inclusion of others in the self is motivated by our need for selfexpansion. In other words, people attempt to expand their potential efficacy by expanding their social resources, perspectives a nd identities through their interpersonal relationships. In this way, by including other en tities into our conceptions of self, we are able to further facilitate the ach ievement of certain desired goal s. In further regards to this exploration of human needs, Baumeister and Leary (1995) persuasively argued that the need to belong (i.e., the desire to form interpersonal attach ments) is a fundamental motive
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 2 with important consequences for social f unctioning. Through these authors we can see how social psychological research continually investigates both the functionality and intricacies of human relationships more broadl y Distinctly, they provide insight into the specific influences of the way in which others are incorporated into our self-conceptions. In eastern philosophy, Tibetan Buddhism fo cuses on the incorporat ion of others in the self in numerous medita tional techniques to promote a greater social harmony as well as feelings of self-kindness (Salzberg, 1995). One such technique is entitled Exchanging Self for Others, and it is considered the co re practice for developing bodhichitta, (or the wish to first obtain enlightenment for onese lf in order to most effectively benefit all other human beings). The meditation involves developing the wish to voluntarily take on others' perspectives in order to be able to take on their problems and freely give them one's own happiness in exchange. The following is an example of this technique: breathe in others' woes as black smoke--let it settle in to the heart, then breathe out all one's own happiness as white light--let it expand to fill all the cosmos (Shantideva, 1997, p. 313). In this example we can see the shift in focus fr om others struggles, to the strength of self, and a final consolidation with common hu manity. Many other meditational techniques such as this one are also focused on cohe sion and connectedness with the intent of attaining an improved social capacity benefi cent to society overal l (Hutcherson, Seppala, & Gross, 2008). Self-Compassion Neff recently proposed self-compassi on as a construct based in Buddhist philosophy which involves fostering a warm and comforting attitude towards those
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 3 aspects of oneself and one's life that are dis liked (2003b). It is con ceptualized as both a trait and as ability. Neff defines it as havi ng three main components : self-kindness versus self-judgment, common humanity versus isolation, and mindfulness versus overidentification. In other words, a self-compa ssionate individual should show kindness and understanding towards oneself in time of suffering or of pe rceived inadequacy, have a sense of common humanity (recognizing that pa in and failure are unavoidable aspects of a shared human experience), and maintain a balanced awareness of one's emotions. The process promotes non-judgmental attitude s and encourages warmth and compassion rather than self-criticism or belittling of oneself during painful times. It recognizes imperfections and difficult life events as be ing part of a shared human experience. The balanced nature of self-compassion preven ts one from suppressing or exaggerating painful emotions and experiences. It require s an appropriate amount of distance from one's emotions so that they can still be fully experienced, and most importantly, seen with mindful objectivity (Gil bert & Irons, 2004). Both self-compassion and self-esteem relate to ego reactivity. Part of self-esteems appeal is its link to positiv e states such as happiness and optimism (Lyubomirsky, Tkach, & DiMatteo, 2006), as well as its negative link to dysfunctional states such as depression and anxiety (Harter, 1990). Self -esteem, however, is no longer as revered in more recent literature. For example, Baumeister, Campbell, Krueger, and Vohs (2003) conclude that whereas global self-esteem enhances persistence, adventurous behavior, and willingness to experiment it provides few additional benefits (and it is unclear if self-esteem is the cause or effect of these states to begin with ). Self-esteem may also become inflated, and
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 4 people striving to acquire or maintain hi gh self-esteem may dism iss certain negative feedback as unreliable or biased, and attribute failures to external causes. As a consequence, these individuals may take less personal responsibility for harmful actions and develop an inaccurate self-concept, re sulting in hindered growth or change (Sedikides, 1993). They may also become angry and aggressive toward those who threaten their ego (Baumeister, Smart, & Boden, 1996) or engage in downward social comparisons, a process that underlies di scrimination (Fein & Spencer, 1997). Despite the shifting views of self-esteem, researchers continue to suggest that peoples overall feelings of self-worth influence psychologi cal functioning (Tafarodi & Swann, 1995). Self-compassion as a construct is perhaps most noteworthy in that it provides an alternative to self-esteem, which has been critici zed for its associations with narcissism (Bushman & Baumeister, 1998), dist orted self-perceptions (e.g., Sedikides, 1993), prejudice (Aberson, Healy, & Romero, 2000) and violence toward those who threaten the ego (e.g., Baumeister, Smart, & Boden, 1996). However, self-compassionate people still tend to have high self-esteem (N eff, 2003b). Compellingly, self-compassion is negatively correlated with paranoid beliefs and depression (Mills Gilbert, Bellew, McEvan & Gale, 2007), which would be reflec tive of its association with overall psychological health and wellbeing (Gilbert & Irons, 2004). With less focus on positive self-image and negative events, self-compassion moderates reactions to negative events as a f unction of whether individuals perceive that event to be their fault (Leary et al., 2007). This was shown through five studies in which participants reported and responded to: unpl easant events in their everyday lives,
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 5 standardized hypothetical scenarios, unpleasan t interpersonal feedback, and an awkward and mildly embarrassing task. Throughout this participants had their thoughts examined based on their high or low self-compassionate na ture. Individuals that were high in selfcompassion were not as hard on themselves for events that were not their fault and showed less extreme reactions to imagined ne gative events. Interestingly, highly selfcompassionate participants also took more personal responsibility in cases where they deemed an event was their fault. They were also more positive towards evaluators, less affected by negative feedback, less critical of themselves in comparison to others globally, and were considerably more posit ive after writing about a negative event. Through these results, Leary et al. (2007) diff erentiated self-compassion from narcissism and trait self-esteem. Self-compassion also correlates posi tively with self-reported measures of: happiness, optimism, positive affect, wis dom, personal initiative, curiosity and exploration, agreeableness, extroversion, and conscientiousness (Neff, Rude, & Kirkpatrick, 2007a), all of which are importa nt features of positive mental health (Lyubomirsky, 2001). It is also thought to e nhance well-being and pro-social behaviors because it helps individuals not only feel more cared for and emotionally calm, but also improves one's ability to feel connected to others (e.g. Gilbert & Irons, 2004). This enhanced well-being may be a result of th e self-soothing qualities of self-compassion, which are thought to bring forth greater cap acities for intimacy, affect regulation, exploration and successful coping with one's environment. Despite the self compassions Eastern root s, the predominately Western use of the
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 6 concept suggests that it is still meant to be viewed and investigated through a more Western interpretation of self. This may help to secure its status as optimally applicable to the present research and literature it is cu rrently targeted toward. For example, its promising implications for positive mental health (e.g., Lyubomirsky, 2001) are often targeted in the pursuit of the development of psychotherapy and therap ist-patient relations in the United States. In addition to its co rrelation with positive psychological functioning, Neff, Kirkpatrick, & Rude (2007b) conducted two studies to actually connect selfcompassion to adaptive psychological functioni ng and health with regard to therapist ratings. The first of these two studies create d an ego-threat in a laboratory setting by looking at a text analysis from a writing assignment about participants weaknesses. Participants also completed measures of self-compassion, self-esteem, negative affectivity, and anxiety. Results revealed th at self-compassion (unlike self-esteem) helped to buffer against anxiety when participants were faced with an ego-threat. The study also revealed a link between self-compassion and connected versus separate language use when participants were writing about weakne sses. Previous studies comparing connected versus separate language use have found that people who are low in self-acceptance tend to use more first person singular pronouns (e .g., I, me, and mine) than those who are high in self-acceptance (Rude, Gortner, & Penneb acker, 2004). As expected, examination of the participants written res ponses showed that while the use of first person singular references and negative emotions were nega tively correlated with self-compassion, plural and social references were positiv ely correlated with self-compassion. The second study incorporated a Gestalt two-chair dialogue (Greenberg, 1993) in
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 7 a therapy session to see if ch anges in self-compassion were related to changes in wellbeing. The Gestalt two-chair exercise was create d to assist patients in challenging certain maladaptive or self-critical be liefs in order to allow clients to become more empathetic towards themselves (Safran, 1998). In this appr oach, the patient is as ked to think about a situation in which he/she was self-critical. Once that perspective has been defined for the patient, the therapist then he lps the participant to identi fy a second voice that would respond to the self-criticism. With guidance from the therapist, partic ipants then conduct a dialogue between these two voices, and physically alternate between two designated chairs whilst speaking from each perspective (t heir critical voice, and their response to that voice). The therapist responds by co aching the two voices until the patient can effectually notice and hear the feelings of the other voice until the conflict had reached some resolution, or when it becomes apparent th at no such resolution is likely to occur. Researchers examined self-compassion scores be fore and after this intervention, as well as several mental health variables. As pred icted, results showed that increases in selfcompassion occurring over a one-month inte rval were associated with increased psychological well-being, and that the ther apist's ratings of self-compassion were significantly correlated with participants se lf-reports of their self-compassion. The idea that self-compassion helps us relate to ourselves in healthier ways suggests that it may help us to re late to others in a similar ma nner. In the interest of this inquiry, Kingsbury, in her dissertation ( 2009), examined self-compassions association with our ability to perceive and empathize wi th others. The researcher approached this question by examining the relationship between self-compassion, mindfulness,
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 8 perspective-taking (the tendency to take on the point of view of others in interpersonal situations), empathic concern (the tendency to experience feelings of care and concern towards others), and personal distress (the tendency to react with discomfort to the emotional experience of others). An online survey was distributed to 127 pa rticipants using self-report measures to assess levels of mindfulness, self-compassion, and three dimensions of empathy. Looking at the correlational analyses, Kingsbury ( 2009) found that empathic concern was found to be strongly associated with self-compa ssion. Additionally, strong correlations arose between perspective-taking and mindfulness (which is one of the components of selfcompassion) and personal distress. Five factors of mindfulness were measured in this study: Describing, Non-Judging, Non-Reactive, Actaware, and Observe. The first three, which involve the capacity to put observations about one's experience into words and the ability to refrain from evaluating or res ponding to one's experience in a reactive or judgmental manner, related positively and signi ficantly to perspective-taking This meant that perspective-taking was related to the aspects of mindfulness that involve the capacity to put observations about one's experience in to words and the ability to refrain from evaluating or reacting to one's experience in a reactive or judgment al manner. Multiple regression analyses indicated that self-c ompassion was found to fully mediate this relationship between mindfulness and perspe ctive-taking. In othe r words, mindfulness and perspective-taking were no longer signifi cant predictors of the emotional side of empathy when self-compassion was taken into account. Self-compassion accounted fully for the positive relationship between mindfuln ess and perspective-taking, indicating that
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 9 self-compassion is an important factor in an individual's tendency to take on the point of view of other individuals. The role of se lf-compassion as a mediator, however, suggests that there is more than just a mindful atten tional shift taking place, and that there may in fact be an additional attitudinal component involving attaching a compassionate approach to ones internal experience foremost. In summary, Kingsburys (2009) finding fa lls in line with Neffs (2003b) initial description of self-compassion s facilitation of a non-judgmenta l attitude towards oneself, which allows feelings to arise without reacti ng with avoidance or over-identification. It is these two facets of mindfulness (non-judging an d non-reacting) which appear to play an important role in the capacity to foster a se nse of compassion toward s oneself as well as to others. Kingsbury (2009) explained th at while the attentional and non-reactive components of mindfulness are n ecessary for perspective-taki ng, it seems that there must also be an attitudinal component which in cludes compassion as well as a sense of connection with others. Fi nally, although not hypothesized, Kingsbury (2009) also found a significant association betw een self-compassion and empathic concern. In other words, individuals with more self-compassion were more likely to report experiencing feelings of care and concern towards others. This pr ovides more compelling evidence in favor of the notion that a healthy conn ection to the self may potentially allow for a stronger connection to others as well. Compassion vs. Sympathy In general, role-taking observers become more likely to experience two affective states: feelings of sympathy and compassi on for the target (e.g., Batson et al., 1989;
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 10 Davis, 1983). Feelings of sympathy have been investigated as either synonymous with or related to feelings of empathy throug hout time (Black, 2004; Jahoda, 2005). Overall, sympathy is now viewed as a more other-di rected emotion of concern, not necessarily involving the indirect experien ce of emotion. It involves concern for another based on the apprehension or comprehension of the others emotional state or condition, but it does not involve a self-focused emotional reaction. Wh ile it is thought to primarily stem from empathy in many contexts, it may also result from cognitive processes such as perspective taking (Eisenberg, Shea, Carlo, & Knight, 1991). Compassion is similar to empathy in that both refer to when people a dopt a caring concern fo r others. Yet, while empathy relates to all feelings, compassion rela tes specifically to the suffering of others (Morgan & Morgan, 2005). Empathy, sympathy, and personal distress all have emotion as the central feature. Personal distress, however, differs in both its focus and motivational components. Personal distress involves a deep er focus on one's own experience and thus ones motivation is to alleviate one's own dist ress, rather than that of the other person (Eisenberg, Shea, Carlo, & Knight, 1991). Aron & Aron (1986) suggested that when feeling empathy, individuals personally experience at least the suffering of another. Compassion, from the Latin, patior, literally means to suffer with, which is indicat ive of the strong relationship between our connection with ourselves and our connection with others. It is not surprising, then, that compassion has been associated with universal ism. Universalism is defined as a concern for and desire to alleviate the suffering of all human beings, and not only of those with whom one identifies or experiences close bonds (Batson, 2002). To show this expansive
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 11 nature of compassion, Batson (2002) conducte d an experiment in which he evoked feelings of compassion for a drug-addicted individual in pa rticipants. Undergraduates in the empathy condition were instructed to think about the feelings of the convicted heroin addict while listening to a tape of his interview. A reaction questionnaire indicated that participants in the empathy condition allocate d more funds to an agency designed to help the addict, and furthermore that these particip ants reported more positive feelings towards drug addicts in general. He c onsidered his finding to be suggestive of the universality of compassion in that the compassion instilled in participants for an individual was later applied more widely. As an attempt to strengthen ones compassion and sympathy for others, Michael Sweet (1990) developed "Meditation Enha nced Empathy Training" (MEET). This empathy training delves into the interpersonal and prosocial implications of a Buddhist meditation technique. The meditative pr ocess consists of five parts: (1) stable meditative concentration; (2) friendliness; (3) compa ssion; (4) sympathetic joy; and (5) equanimity The empathic and prosocial attitudes and beha viors which are the goal of this meditation are considered to be one of the two n ecessary and sufficient conditions for the development of an Enlighten ment-oriented attitude ( bodhicitta), which focuses on an acquired empathy for all beings Sweet's (1990) MEET program aims for an empathically friendly and autonomous stance towards one self and others. Its multidimensional approach toward cognitive and beha vioral procedures is intended to suitably converge with core Western psychological knowledge and psychotherapy, despite its Eastern philosophical roots. By looking at case ex amples of individuals with personality
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 12 disorders, the use of the M EET system of meditation reve aled a consistent coding in individuals as more empathically friendly a nd differentiated, not only towards others, but also in response to others, and even toward s oneself. Uniquely, it fu rther demonstrated a common basis of insight into interpersonal psychological pr ocesses in such a manner as to show that it may provide objectives and procedures compatible with some contemporary Western psychotherapies. This may include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and self-psychol ogy. The researchers believed that this insight would now be assessable in both Asian Buddhist and Western experimental methods of investigation based on the success of this Buddhist training program. The researchers concluded that th eir synthesis of these speci fically Buddhist meditational techniques with western psychotherapy de monstrated that some methods found in religiously-based contemplative disciplin es may be of promising utility to psychotherapists, regardless of their persona l religious or secula r values (Sweet & Johnson, 1990) One example of this type of meditative training program at work can be found in very recent research regarding mindfulness, meditation, and attunement. Bruce, Manber, Shapiro, and Constantino (2010) propose that ps ychotherapist interpersonal attunement is important for understanding of feelings and mental states of others. Attunement allows for this state of connection in which one se nses the mind of another, and this second person, sensing his own mind in the mind of the first, then feels felt. This process between psychotherapist and pa tient involves a deep sensitiv ity to the patients signals.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 13 This is thought to include not only what the patient does and does not say, but also certain nonverbal signals, such as eye contact, voice quality, facial expression, and body posture. Awareness of Common Humanity It has been suggested that th e western-influenced need or drive to feel special and above average can lead to increased feelin gs of isolation and separation from fellow humans, which is consequentially counterprodu ctive to feelings of inter-connectedness (Brach, 2003). After a lifetime of working w ith the poor and the sick, Mother Teresa's surprising insight was: "The bigge st disease today is not lepros y or tuberculosis but rather the feeling of not belonging (Brach, 2003; pa ge 11). Brach (2003) took this insight to mean that while humanity is inclined to l ong to belong, people often continually struggle continuously to actualize this need. With the aid of self-compassion, however, Neff (2009) explains that these boundaries between se lf and other are softened. It offers the opportunity to instill the mi ndset that all human beings are worthy of compassion, oneself included (Neff, 2009). Neff (2003b) refers to the experience of awareness of common humanity as an important antidote to both self -judgment and this struggle we experience with self-other alienation. This was further outlined in the Kingsbury (2009) finding that not judging or becoming overly reactive were the specific components of mindfulness which related most strongly to self-compassion, perspectiv e-taking and personal distress. Relatedly, common humanity awareness is expected to co nsist of an experience-based realization of the universality of inner emotional phenomena. Thich Nhat Hanh (1988), a leading Buddhist scholar and practitioner, has coined the term "interbe ing," which he describes as
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 14 the web of causes and effects through whic h all living beings are connected. This interconnectedness may be crucial in order for individuals to ha ve the capacity to learn to be less critical and judgmental of others and self, and thus to deve lop a greater sense of connectedness with self and others (Neff, 2008) One study in particular demonstrated the close link between the experi ence of self-compassion, human connectedness ('awareness of common humanity'), and empathy, and how an intensive Gestalt therapeutic workshop could allow these links to emerge (Schechte r, 2008). In search of this emergence, Schechter (2008) hypothesized and designe d a study to demonstrate how Gestalt workshops might enable a relational environm ent where individuals can share difficult experiences, including feared and previously rejected portions of themselves. Through this process, the researcher aspired to show how patients could also come to feel less lonely and more connected to others (e.g. Neff et al., 2007b). Schechters (2008) study called for particip ation in 2-day, weekend-long intensive Gestalt experiential workshops. These workshop s resulted in increased levels of selfcompassion, awareness of common humanity, social connectedness, and empathy and compassion for participants. Furthermore, after the workshops, levels of empathy positively correlated with experienced levels of awareness of common humanity. No significant correlation was found between levels of emotional distre ss (Personal Distress Index) and of awareness of common humanity experi enced by Gestalt workshop participants. In other words, the pressure to alleviate ones own distress was not associated with common humanity. Significan t changes in self-compassion, empathy, and awareness of common humanity as well as social connectedness were reported in spite of
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 15 the procedure only being two days long. The author concluded that these results allowed for an expanded understanding of the key healing experience that comes with an enhanced awareness of common humanity. Perspective-Taking The many social benefits of perspectiv e-taking coming to light in the current literature are in agreement with many of the views developed in early western psychology. For instance, both Mead (1934) a nd Piaget (1932) persuasively argued that possessing and using an ability to take on another's perspective is responsible for much of one's overall human social capacity. Acco rding to this view, a better-developed perspective-taking ability w ould allow us to overcome our usual egocentrism. This development would subsequently allow us to learn to tailor our behaviors to others' expectations, and consequently make all of our satisfying interpersona l relations possible. Specifically, social perspective taking has been defined as the ability to control one's own viewpoint when perceiving and making judgments of others (Higgins 1981). It is also believed to be linked to adopting a selfless co ncern for others, positive social functioning, and self-esteem (Davis, 1983). Research has shown that perspective-taking abilities increase with age (Davis & Franzoi, 1991) implying that as individuals develop cognitively and socially, their adeptness at shifting perspectives and adopting another's point of view also enhances. How long this development continues after adolescence, however, is still unclear. Ample psychological research supports the relationship between perspectivetaking abilities and behaviors and successful management of interpersonal relationships.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 16 Some researchers believe that developmental and individual variati on in perspective and role-taking underlie many of the differences in interpersonal sensitivity, social maturity, and prosocial abilities and behaviors (Underwood & Moore, 1981; Selman, 1980). Higgins (1981) defined situational role-t aking as inferring how you would respond if you were in another person's situation, or more pl ainly, putting yourself in someone else's shoes. Higgins (1981) expanded on this defi nition by the inclusion of individual roletaking, which instead involves seeing the world through someone else's eyes, and further inferring how another pe rson might respond if they we re in one's situation. This suggests that there may be a continuum of perspective-taking. For instance, it may range from thinking loosely about another's situa tion to considering a ta rget or individual's personal and separate view much more deeply. Social perspective-taking is often confused with other theories involving the understanding of perspectives regarding the self and a target. As the term is used for the purposes of this investigation, it is not equiva lent to the definition of perspective-taking as described in the social-interactionist tradition. In this tradition, for example, perspective-taking is merely defined as adopt ing another person's perspective to then see oneself as an object in their eyes (Mead, 1934) Similarly, social perspective-taking is discriminated from the false consensus eff ect, which is a somewh at similar phenomenon. The false-consensus effect differs as a c onstruct in that it takes one's opinions and attitudes and overestimates them or broadl y attributes them to other people more generally-an effect which has been wide ly documented (Marks & Miller, 1987; Mullen et al., 1985).
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 17 Whereas many processes are implicated during the act of social perspectivetaking, they differ significantly considering the degree to which they are under conscious control by the perspectiv e taker. An example of this can be found in studies investigating mimicry. Without conscious intent, mimicki ng others facial expr essions increases the likelihood that observers will experience emoti ons parallel to those of a target (e.g., Adelmann & Zajonc, 1989; Lanzetta & E nglis, 1989; Vaughan & Lanzetta, 1980), and some evidence suggests that adopting the pers pective of another increases such mimicry (Chartrand & Bargh, 1999). Hoffman's (1984) theory of role-taking is more analogous to the conceptualization of social-p erspective taking. Hoffman described six different modes by which affective empathic responses ar e generated. These modes range from the relatively primitive and automatic processes to the much more advanced and deliberate processes. In Hoffman's view, primitive processes such as those previously mentioned (i.e., motor mimicry), are thought to be am ong the most automatic of the mechanisms. The most deliberate and effortful mechanism, however, is said to be role-taking. Hoffman proposed that the effortful na ture of role taking made it a mechanism which would be utilized less during perspective-taking than some of the easier, more automatic processes. Davis, Conklin, Smith, and Luce (1996) found that compared to individuals receiving control instructions, participants who received specific instruction to use perspective-taking would then construct mental representations of a ta rget that were more closely characteristic of represen tations of him or herself. In other words, after participant observers received role-taking instructions to adopt the perspective of a target, upon
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 18 describing the target, they were more likely to ascribe traits to him or her that they (the observers) had earlier indicated were self-des criptive. The researchers concluded that these representations were chosen due to a priming of participants' individual selfknowledge as a way to relate to the target quickly by using their own traits, which were more readily accessible. The comparisons in this experiment added support for Hoffmans (1984) view that perspective taking is an effortful process, since participants tended to utilize more automatic, rather than effortful, processes to think about a target. In order to conduct cohesive research on this subject matter, it is necessary to reach an agreed upon interpretation of what is actually meant by adopting the perspective of another concerning empathy. Unfortunately the two critical pe rspectives regarding perceiving another's situation are often ignored or confused. Yet, imagining how another feels, and imagining how oneself would feel are two completely distinct forms of perspective-taking which have different social and emotional consequences. One can either imagine the way another person perceive s a situation and how he or she then feels as a result (imagined other), or, one can imagine how you would perceive the other's situation, and how you would then feel as a result (imagined self) (Batson, Early, & Salvarani, 1997). Stotland (1969) found an actual physio logical difference between these perspectives in levels of arousal for particip ants placed in one of three perspective-taking conditions. Physiological differences were reco rded using a palmar perspiration recording and measures of vasoconstriction. In this ex periment, participants were placed in an imagine self, an imagine him, or a watch him condition in which they were asked
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 19 to observe a patient undergoing a diathermy, or an electrically induced heat treatment. The treatment itself entails the therapeutic generation of local heat in body tissues by high-frequency electromagnetic currents. Resu lts showed a significan tly higher level of physiological arousal for participants in th e imagined other (imagine him) empathy condition than for those in the self-foc used condition with respect to their vasoconstriction levels. In other words, wh en asked to imagine what the patient was experiencing when undergoing the diathermy treatment, participants were the most physiologically affected.(Stotland, 1969). Batson et al.'s (1997) more recent study re vealed that the two different imagined perspectives could produce a predicted pattern of emoti ons. For this experiment, undergraduate psychology students were assigned to three perspective-taking conditions: objective, imagine other, and imagine self. Pa rticipants were instructed to read brief descriptions directing them to either be as objective as possible (obj ective), to think about how the other person feels (imagine other), or to think about how they would feel if they were that person (imagine self). All participan ts listened to a brief tape about a struggling individual, and afterwards were asked to complete the questionnaire measuring their reactions, personal distress, and the effectiven ess of the perspectiv e-taking conditions. Results revealed that those who were in structed to imagine how the individual on the tape felt (imagine other) experienced more empathy than those instructed to remain objective. Furthermore, these participants also reported a high level of empathy and a low level of direct distress. Those who were asked to imagine how they would feel (imagine self), however, reported high leve ls of personal distress as well as empathy, as predicted.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 20 This finding suggests that fee lings of empathy evoke an altr uistic motivation to relieve the feelings of another. Personal Distress, on the other hand, while still possessing the capacity to evoke altruistic motivation, more often evokes an egoistic motivation to relieve one's own distress (Batson, 1991). Social Awareness Kennon Sheldons (1993) construction of a Social Awarenesses Inventory (SAI) paralleled Batson's research in many ways. In his first examination of the inventory he found it to be a useful framework for concep tualizing and measuring social information processing styles. The eight subscales showed acceptable internal consistency and related sufficiently to existing social awareness-re lated trait constructs. For instance, after comparing SAI to various trait constructs, hi s results indicated that people who are high in self-consciousness focus on their own appearance, using both self and external perspectives. On the other hand, those high in social anxiety tend to focus on both self appearance and self experience as seen foremost from external perspectives. Narcissists namely focus on their own appearance, using their own perspective; and empaths (both emotional and cognitive) focus on both their ow n and others' experiences as seen from the experiencer's perspective. Sheldon and Johnson (1993) concluded that the purposes of these multidimensional forms of awareness styles are to gain information with which to tailor and adjust one's social performance (Goffman, 1959). Sheldon further investigated his SAI c onstructs by performing two studies examining participants' estimates of how fre quently they experience forms of awareness in dyadic interactions. Sheldon (1996) focused on three dimensions of awareness,
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 21 including the target itself (either self or othe r), the content (the covert experience or overt appearance), and perspective used (that of self or that of the other). Participants indicated that they use the perspective of the other mo re often than their own only when it provides them some sort of 'privileged' access to the re levant content of awareness. This includes instances in which they think either about the thoughts and feelings of the other or about their own appearance or behavior, as these covert experiences ca nnot be directly known by another, and are thus deemed privleged. Interestingly, females, relative to males, showed a greater tendency to use privileged awareness forms when thinki ng about the other. Sheldon (1996) further concluded that people high in nurturance or intimacy strivings tend to adopt the perspective of the other more and are more likely to think about the other's covert experiences. Meanwhile, people who are high in dominance or power strivings tend to simply retain their own perspective and show less of a tendency to think about others' experiences (Sheldon, 1996). The desire to c ontrol others versus a desire to instead comfort and assist others a ppears in the constructs of nurturance and dominance needs (Jackson, 1984). These results were compar able to Batson et al.'s (1991) finding regarding the imagined self perspective and its significant relation to a focus on personal distress, and consequently, greater egoism. Perspective Taking & Improved Social Functioning The implications of social awareness th eory and social-perspective taking must be taken into account when looking at connectio ns between understanding of others and how one understands oneself. Most people are inclin ed to think of themselves in terms of
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 22 covert experiences, as in, connecti ng more closely with certain covert and internal aspects of themselves. People think and function in a covert manner and view others in more separate and overt behavioral terms (Prentice, 1990). In this light, during most people's efforts to delve into the covert and overt expe riences of others, they must continually use certain covert aspects of themselves as a refe rent. This falls in line with the theory that perspective-taking may not only be viewed as crucial for understanding others, but also very important for how effectively we are able to evaluate ourselves (Figurski, 1987). However, as previously mentioned, the ability to take the perspective of another is critical for our effective social functioning (L ong & Andrews, 1990) and proper empathic behaviors (Davis, 1983). An example of one of the ways perspective-taking exhibits a positive influence on effective social functioning is demonstr ated by Chalmers' (1990) rehabilitative program for socially maladapted girls. These adolescents were provided training in social perspective-taking and role-taking. This re sulted not only in improved interpersonal problem analysis, empathy, and greater accepta nce of individual differences, but also more prosocial behaviors and relations overall Effective social functioning is indicative of more positive relationships, as witnessed by satisfaction in the context of close and romantic relationships. For instance, Franzoi et al. (1985) looked at levels of satisfaction in couples in relation to their tendency to use persp ective-taking, and found that perspective-taking was related to higher levels of relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, Davis and Oathout (1987) found that empathic concern and perspective-taking were related to positive behaviors (e.g., opening up, readily listening, acting affectionately,
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 23 acting thoughtfully, expressing ap preciation) in the context of romantic relationships, while, personal distress was instead relate d to negative behaviors (not opening up, not listening, acting rude, critical, domineering, etc.) These results may suggest that satisfaction and positive behaviors expressed in close relationships are likely to relate in some way to how empathy might be expe rienced or conveyed by each individual. The Present Studies The capacity to take on the perspective of another is integral for the development of effective social func tioning (Long & Andrews, 1990) and the proper empathic behaviors (Davis, 1983) which are required to sufficiently navigate the intricacies of social life. If perspective-taking pertains to ones adeptness at a dopting a more accurate or advantageous point of vi ew when perceiving others, then it is critical that this construct be distinctly defined whenever examining perspective-taking phenomena. As stated previously, imagining how another feel s, and imagining how oneself would feel are two completely distinct forms of perspective-taking which result in different social and emotional consequences. For the present inquir y, when incorporating the advantages of perspective-taking with the investigation of self-compassions possible capabilities, it is important to determine which of the two central forms of perspective taking (imagine self and imagine other) are at work. As previous studies re veal links between self-compassion and improved psychological functioning (e.g., Neff, 2007) as we ll as a sense of connectedness to others (e.g., Gilbert, 2005), a relationship may also exist between self-compassion and the forms of perspective-taking and social awareness styl es which help to facilitate positive social
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 24 interaction and functioning. Whereas eviden ce indicates that self-compassion accounts for the positive relationship between mindfu lness and perspective taking (e.g., Kingsbury, 2009), the details of this relationship need to be investigated in greater detail. For example, perspective taking's connection to self-compassion may involve more than just an attentional shift, but instead include an emotional motivation (e.g. Kingsbury, 2009) as might be brought on by a cognizance of one's common humanity. The present study aims to demonstrate in greater de tail the mutual associations between self-compassion, social awareness style (social pers pective-taking), human conn ectedness (sense of common humanity), and relationship satisfaction. For the first portion of the i nvestigation, we predict that individuals higher in trait self-compassion are more likely to focus on the more empathic, less egoistic form of social perspective-taking known as the imagine other perspective (e.g., Batson et al., 1997). Furthermore, more self-compassionate individuals are expect ed to experience more satisfying relationships overall, based on research de scribing social perspective taking's positive associations with social functioning (e.g., Chalmers, 1990; Long & Andrews, 1990) and its connection to increase d relationship satisfact ion in couples (e.g., Davis & Oathout,1987). These predictions have been formulated around the premise that with the awareness of common humanity (one of the main constituents of self compassion) comes a counter-agent to thought s and feelings of se lf-judgment and selfother alienation (e.g., Neff 2003b). It may be that without this overbearing sense of alienation, more trusting and pe rceptive cognitions and inte ractions come forth more naturally or fluidly. In li ght of this, we predict that both trait self-compassion and
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 25 common humanity will be positively associated with the imagined other perspective as well as relationship satisfaction in peer friend, and romantic relationships. The second segment of the current inves tigation will look into the impact a selfcompassionate nature has on the attributions and interpretations made while perceiving another person's experience. As Leary et al (2007) found that self-compassion buffers people against negative events and engenders pos itive self-feelings when life goes badly, the researchers were also intere sted to see if this claim w ould be extended towards others in the way that it is extended to self-com passionate people themselves. Interestingly, participants in a self-compassion condition were more likely to attribute a negative event to the kind of person he or she was rather than blame the event on any of the other possible attributions (Leary et al., 2007), perh aps because they were more able to view themselves and their emotions with a more balanced awareness (Neff, 2003b). This is indicative of a comfortable sense of persona l responsibility, and is based around the selfcompassionate belief that all human bei ngs are worthy of self-compassion, oneself included (Neff, 2009). While self-compassion ha s not been shown to predict ratings and evaluations of others, self-compassionate indi viduals do tend to show higher ratings of belief in similarity with others. This woul d suggest that self-compassionate people also rate others characteristics or personality as playing a sim ilarly responsible role in the occurrence of a negative event. In the same way that Leary et al. (2007) suggested that the element of common humanity (or common experience) in highly self-compassionate people engenders both a sense of responsibil ity and a mindful sense of forgiveness towards oneself, it would be intere sting to see if this duality was expected of others when
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 26 making event attributions, or if others were expected to react in their own right. It was predicted that participants high in self-compassion were expected to make more discerning attributions regarding the cau sation behind a negative event a target had experienced. This would resemble the attribut ions made in the Lear y et al. (2007) study. The higher the rating of fault on a target should make participants more likely to attribute the event to the kind of person the target was. Rather than only focusing on selfcompassions impact on partcipants perceptions of others, the researchers also hoped to investigate the effect of adopting differen t perspectives on perc eiving another person experiencing some form of difficulty or failure. Two studies were designed and conducted to test these predictions. In the first study, a sample of undergraduate students completed a survey that covered three primary measures. The first was selected to assess overa ll form of social awareness style used (the imagined other perspective and the imagi ned self perspective [Sheldon, 1993]). The second study assessed participants' self-com passion rating using the scale developed by Neff (2003). The final questions measured pa rticipants' relationship satisfaction. Selfcompassion was expected to be related to the form of social awareness style implemented. Furthermore, more self-compassiona te individuals were expected to have a higher relationship satisfaction rating. In a second study, participants were randomly placed into one of three perspective-taking conditions: imagine other, imagine self, and objective. After adopting their assigned perspective, part icipants were asked to recall an instance of a specific peer or classmate's experience with a previous fa ilure, rejection, or loss that may have made
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 27 the individual feel badly about him or herself. Finally, partic ipants answered a series of questions regarding the attributions they made after the experience This included the extent to which participants rated the negative event involving the peer or classmate to have been caused by (a) other people, (b) so mething the individual did, (c) bad luck, and (d) the kind of person that he or she is, and how much the event was the individual's fault. Participants placed in the imagine other pe rspective-taking condition were expected to make more discerning attributions as a func tion of how much the ev ent was rated to be the target's fault. Moreover, the more blame attributed to the target person, the more likely the imagine other or more self-compassiona te participants would be to attribute the event to the target's pe rsonal characteristics. Both studies were designed with the pur pose of investigatin g the varying links between the two main styles of social perspective-taking and the impact of selfcompassionate attitudes on thes e perceptions. For the first st udy it was hypothesized that self-compassion would be associated with th e imagine other perspective-taking style as well as level of satisfaction in social rela tionships. Level of comm on humanity awareness was also expected to be associated with th e imagine other perspective-taking style. For the second study both trait self-compassion a nd the imagine other perspective-taking instruction were expected to be associated with attributing more respon sibility to a target (and not external causes) for a negative even t when he or she was at fault. Each study examined the previously unexplored dual natu re of perspective-taking (either imagine other or imagine self) and its influence on the newly embraced construct of selfcompassion. They were designed with the inte nt of uncovering new leads in the present
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 28 research exploring how varia tions in our empathic motivations and behaviors affect people differently. Specifically, how variations in perspective-taking may be associated with our sense of self-compassion, awareness of common humanity, interpretation of the actions others, and our level of satisfac tion in different kinds of relationships. Study 1 Method Participants. Participants were 129 male and female undergraduate students attending a public liberal arts college in Sout hwest Florida. Participants were recruited via email on a student forum. The forum should be characteristic of the 314 male and 511 female full-time undergraduate students between the ages of 16 and 40. The majority of students enrolled are between the ages of 17 and 21, and are white/non-Hispanic. Of the participants, 13 had to be omitted from analyses due to missing data. Measures and Procedure. An email calling for participants via the student forum briefed readers on the study itself, asked that individuals who were willing to partake in the study to answer all questions as honestly as possible, and informed readers that they would be able to stop taking the survey at any time. The survey first provided participants with a consent form that described the st udy in more detail (see Appendix D for copy of form). To preserve anonymity, participants we re not asked to include their name in the survey. Social Awareness Subscales from Sheldon's (1996) Social Awareness Inventory were used to assess the form of social aw areness employed (see Appendix A). This scale asked participants to rate the extent to whic h they agreed or disagreed with each item (1 = Very uncharacteristic of me, 4 = Very charac teristic of me). All items were worded
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 29 without reversals because most of the items were already somewhat complex, referring to both a target figure and a perspective taken on that figure. To represent the imagined other perspective, the subscales used fo r this study included the 8-item other's experience from other's perspective ( = .86) and 8-item other's appearance from other's perspective ( = .77). A sample item from this s ubscale is More than most, I put myself in another's shoes. To represent th e imagined self perspective, the 8-item other's experience from self's perspective ( = .78) and the 8-item other's appearance from self's perspective ( = .77) subscales were used. A sample item from this subscale is It is usually easy for me to figure out why others feel the way they do. Self-Compassion. The second component of the survey measured self-compassion using the 26-item Self-Compassion Scale (Neff, 2003a). This includes the 5-item SelfKindness subscale ( = .91), the 5-item Se lf-Judgment subscale ( = .83), the 4-item Common Humanity subscale ( = .83), the 4-item Isolation subscale ( = .84), the 4-item Mindfulness subscale ( = .79), and the 4-item Over -Identification subscale ( = .81). A sample item from the Self-Kindness subscale is I try to be loving towards myself in times of emotional pain. A sample item from the Common Humanity subscale is I try to see my failings as part of the human condi tion. From the Mindfulness subscale, When something upsets me, I try to keep my emoti ons in balance. Responses are given on a 5point scale from Almost Never to Almost Always. Mean scores on the six subscales are then averaged to create an overall se lf-compassion score. For a complete list see Appendix B. Satisfaction in Social Relationships In this final section participants were asked
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 30 to answer the four questions from the Couple Satisfaction Index (Funk & Rogge, 2007). These questions examined the extent to whic h participants were satisfied with their friendships, romantic relationships, peer rela tionships, and overall re lationship happiness. A sample item from this section is In gene ral, how satisfied are you with your romantic relationships (including past and present)? (See Appendix C). Study 1 Results For the first analysis, a Pearson correlation coefficient was computed to assess the association between the imagined other perspective and self-compassion rating. The imagine other perspective included both th e OEOP (other's experience from other's perspective) and the OAOP (other's appearan ce from other's perspective) subscales. It was hypothesized that the imagin ed other perspective-taking style would be associated with self-compassion. Contrary to the hypot hesis, however, when looking at the association between OEOP and self-compassi on, the correlation was not statistically significant, r (110)= .118, p = .219. Similarly, when associating OAOP to self compassion, this correlation was also not significant, r (110)= .046, p =.633. As expected, results did support the hypothesis that self-compassion rating would be positively associated with perceived re lationship satisfaction. A Pearson correlation revealed the relationship be tween self-compassion rating and the overall happiness in relationships rating to be statistically significant, r (109)= .518, p < .01. Similarly, the correlation between self-compassion and rating of satisfaction in friendships was also significant, r (109)= .344, p < .01, as were its correlations with ratings of peer satisfaction, r (107)= .552, p < .01, and romantic satisfaction, r (109)= .578, p < .01. This
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 31 means that individuals higher in self-compassi on also rated themselves as more satisfied with their friend, peer, and romantic relationships. Although not hypothesized, the associati on between awareness of ones common humanity and ratings of relationship satisfa ction were also analyzed using a Pearson correlation. Interestingly, the correlation between common humanity awareness rating and the overall happiness in relationships rating was st atistically significant, r (109)= .512, p < .01. This was also the case when looking at the associations between common humanity and ratings of satisfaction in friendships, r (109)= .280, p < .01, peers, r (107)= .457, p < .01, and in romantic relationships, r (109)= .543, p < .01. In other words, for each of these measures of relationship satisf action, individuals with higher scores on the common humanity subscale also perceived themse lves as more satisfied in each of the relationship-types tested. Particularly noteworthy was the relationship between common humanity and social awareness. In line with the origin al prediction, when examining the association between common humanity and th e imagined other (OEOP) pe rspective, the correlation between common humanity and OEOP (other's experience from other's perspective) was both positive and significant, r (110)= .188, p < .05. This provided support for the hypothesis that individuals who ut ilize the other's experience from other's perspective (a component of the imagined other perspective) also have a greater level of connection to common humanity. Study 1 Discussion The results of Study 1 partially supported the hypotheses. With regard to self-
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 32 compassion, all different types of satisfaction in social relationship s measured were found to be significantly associated. This mean t that self-compassion was not only positively associated with overall happiness in relations hips more generally, but also for romantic, friendship, and peer relationships. Although pr evious studies showed that perspectivetaking was positively associated with effective social functioning (e.g., Chalmers, 1990; e.g. Long & Andrews, 1990) and increased re lationship satisfaction among exclusively dating couples (e.g., Davis & Oathout, 1987) no prior investigation has looked at associations between self-compassion and soci al functioning with respect to relationship satisfaction. Additional imp lications of this finding will be addressed later. Measures of relationship satisfaction were found to be significantly associated with common humanity. This offers evidence in favor of our theory that of the three components of self-compassion, common humanity may be the specific constituent which enables the sense of social connecte dness that fosters the positive association between relationship satisfacti on and self-compassion found in this study. To further back this claim, common humanity and the imagine other perspective also produced a positive association. This follows research suggesti ng that common humanity allows for a greater sense of connectedness to others (e.g., Neff, 2008) as well as provides additional evidence for previous claims suggesting that it may be operating as a counter-agent to self-other alienation (e.g., Neff, 2003b). Contrary to the hypothesis, however, self-compassion as a whole was not found to be significantly correlated with the imagine other perspective. A possible explanation for this may be that the survey questions which were responsible for measuring the imagine
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 33 other perspective were adopted from Shel don's (1993) SAI constructs, which may have translated poorly when not used in their origin al entirety. In other wo rds, participants may have rated their adeptness at the imagine other and imagine self perspectives differently if they had also been asked questions regardi ng their inclination towards the other social awareness styles not listed. A dditionally, it should be noted that in the current study, participants were scored merely via self-repo rt on their personal capacity to adopt the imagine other perspective. In Batsons (1997) study investigating these imagine other and imagine self perspectives, however, particip ants were placed into perspective-taking conditions. This is the study in which the re searcher found that pa rticipants produced more empathy when they were placed in an imagine other perspective-taking condition (Batson, 1997). To address this variation in how the imagine other perspective was measured, a second study was constructed to allow for mo re causal results in a more experimental setting. Based off an adaptation to the Leary et al. (2007) design, the second experiment examined self-compassionate individuals to determine which attributions they made towards others who were experiencing a negative event. Additionally, the researchers hoped to consider the impact of taking on either the imagine other or the imagine self perspective. Specifically, how it would affect participants interpretations of another persons similarity to themselves and how re sponsible he or she should then be for a negative event. After being assigned to ei ther the imagine other, imagine self, or objective condition, participants were asked to adopt their respective perspectives. Participants were then asked to recall and write about a specific peer or classmate's
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 34 experience with either a previous failure, rejection, or loss that may have made the individual feel badly about hi m or herself. Finally, participants answered a series of questions regarding the attributions they made after the experience. As self-compassionate individuals do not at tribute the selfs failures to external causes and tend to see others as similar (L eary et al., 2007), indi viduals high in selfcompassion were expected to attribute more responsibility to a target (in the way that self-compassionate individuals would have done for themselves). As our previous experiment showed a relationship between th e imagine other perspe ctive and sense of common humanity (the recognition that problems are a normal part of life and that one's own difficulties are generally no worse than ot her people's problems), participants placed in the imagine other condition were also expected to follow the same trend of not attributing the self-failures to external causes. Study 2 Method Participants. Participants were 42 undergraduate students, recruited in a student center or at the conclusion of classes. Th ere were 15 male and 27 female participants, ranging in age from 18 to 36 ( M = 20.83, SD = 1.64). Participants were between their first and fifth year in college. Procedure. Participants were told that they would be partic ipating in a study concerning social awareness styles in the c ontext of experiencing an embarrassing event. Participants were tested individually in the quiet of their dorm rooms or common rooms, depending. Initial instructions stated that participants woul d write about a negative event that they had witnessed in their past and answ er a series of questions afterwards about it.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 35 Before writing, each participant had been rando mly assigned to one of three experimental conditions (a) imagine-other perspective induction, (b) imagin e-self perspective induction, or (c) objective. After providing informed consent, participants were asked to think about a negative even t that a peer or classmate of yours experienced in high school or college that made him or her f eel badly about themselvessomething that involved failure, humiliation, or rejection. Participants were asked to describe th e event and then provide details regarding what led up to the event, who was present, precisely what happened, and how they believed the individual experi encing the event behaved and mu st have felt at the time. Participants were instructed not to write down the name or any other specifically identifying characteristics (e.g., names, numbers detailed physical de scriptions, etc.) of the individual they were writing about to preserve anonymity. Before they began, the experimenter left the room. Perspective-instructions we re an altered form of th e instructions provided in Batson's (1997) study and were typed. Participants in the imagine-other condition read the following: While you are writing about this event try to imagine how the person who experienced this event felt about what happe ned and how it may have affected his or her life at the time. Try not to concern yourself with attending to all the information presented. Just concentrate on trying to imagine how the person you are writing about feels. Participants in the imagine-self condition read the following:
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 36 While you are writing about this event try to imagine how you yourself would feel if you were experiencing what had happe ned to the person you are writing about and how this experience would have affected your life. Try not to concern yourself with attending to all the information presented. Ju st concentrate on trying to imagine how you yourself would feel. Participants in the objectiv e condition read the following: While you are writing about this event, try to remain as objective as possible towards the person who experienced the event an d how it affected his or her life at the time. To remain objective, do not let yourself get caught up in imagining what this person went through and how he or she felt as a result. Just try to remain objective and detached. Dependent measures. Included in these questions were three designed to check the effectiveness of the perspec tive-taking manipulation (While writing about the past event, to what extent did you feel objective?; T o what extent did you concentrate on the feelings of the person you were writing a bout?; To what extent did you concentrate on how you yourself would feel if you were expe riencing what happened to the person you wrote about?)(1 = not at al l, 9 =very much so). Participants then rated th e degree to which the negativ e event involving a peer or classmate which they described was cause d by (a) other people, (b) something the individual did, (c) bad luck, and (d) the kind of person that he or she is (their personality, abilities, attitudes, character, and so on); they also indica ted how much the event was the individual's fault. Each question was answered on a 12-point scale with five scale labels
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 37 ( not at all slightly moderately very, completely ). Participants also rated the event they described on a 12-point scale ranging from 1 ( very good ) to 12 (very bad ), and, to directly assess the effect of the manipulation on per ceptions of common humanity, participants answered the question, Overall, how similar to or different from most other people is the individual which you described? ranging from 1 ( very different ) to 12 ( very similar ). Finally, participants were asked to fi ll out the aforementioned self-compassion measure (Neff, 2003). After participants completed their evaluation forms, the experimenter returned and participants pl aced their questionnaire into an unmarked envelope with other completed surveys. Pa rticipants were thanked for their time and participation and then debriefed. Study 2 Results The second portion of the analysis asse ssed whether individuals placed in the imagine other condition would attribute more responsibility to a target rather than external factors, and whether this was associated with how self-compassionate participants were (with respect to fault). The attribution questions measured included the extent to which the negative event was beli eved to be caused by people other than the peer, the peer alone, the peer's individual tr aits, and the extent to which the event was interpreted as simply an unlucky happenst ance. A manipulation check examined the differences across conditions (imagine othe r, imagine self, and objective.) The groups reliably differed on their res ponses to both the imagine other F (2,43) = 4.075, p > .05 and objective manipulation check survey questions indicating that the manipulation reliably worked for both of these measures F (2,43) = 3.977, p > .05. However, there was no
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 38 reliable difference revealed by the im agine self manipulation check question. A series of one-way ANOVAs revealed no differences across the groups in terms of each attribution question. Attribution questions included the extent to which participants rated the negative event involving a peer or cl assmate to be caused by (a) other people, (b) something the individual did (e.g., peer action), (c) bad luck, and (d) the kind of person that he or she is (e.g., p eer traits), and (e) how much the event was the individual's fault. Higher ratings give n to other people and bad luck were considered the more external/situational attr ibutions assigned to the target experiencing the negative event, and higher ratings of peer action and peer traits were considered the more internal or dispositional attributions. All F 's were less than 2.58 and all ps were greater than .08. The hypothesis that those a ssigned to the imagine other perspectivetaking group would make more internally-based attributions than those in the imagine self or objective groups was not supported. For mean attribution scores of other people, bad luck, peer action, peer traits, and overall perceive d fault for each perspective-taking condition, see Table 1. It was further hypothesized that self-c ompassion would be positively associated with more responsible (e.g., peer action) rather than external (e.g., bad luck) attribution ratings. A final an alysis assessed the associa tions between self-compassion and peer event attributions. Contrary to the hypothes is, self-compassion was not significantly associated with the attribu tion rating questions. However, findings did reveal that self-kindness (a subscale of se lf-compassion) was negativ ely associated with attribution ratings of bad luck, r (44)= -.305, p < .05. Similarly, ratings of self-judgment
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 39 were positively associated with an attribution rating of bad luck, r (44)= .336, p < .05. Self-kindness was also negatively asso ciated with ratings of isolation, r (44)= -.543, p < .05 Study 2 Discussion Having found no reliable differences betw een the imagine-self variable to the imagine-other and objective vari ables, our hypothesis that the imagineother perspective would have an influence on participants ratings of a target-person s responsibility could not be confirmed. A possible explanation for the insignificance found in the imagine self manipulation check can be derived from the comments made by the participants during experimentation. In multiple in stances, several in dividuals showed confusion or raised questions regarding the meaning behind the im agine self condition instruction set. The written responses given after the imagine self condition prom pt further indicated that participants were not answering the question or following the instruction as had been idealized by the researcher. An example of an answer given to this prompt would be, Based on the person and the setting, that person experiencing that embarrassing event probably felt.. This type of response was more characteristic of an answer expected to have been given after a part icipant received the imagine ot her prompt, suggesting there was an error in how the instructions were in terpreted. In the future extra care need be taken to differentiate for participants how to respond to the imagine other condition compared to the imagine self condition. The manipulation checks suggested that the other two perspective-taking instruc tions had been clearer. Looking at the associations between self-compassion ratings and peer-event
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 40 attributions, there was one si gnificant negative association between self-kindness and the bad luck attribution question (and one significant positive association between selfjudgment and bad luck). This means that the more self-kindness participants rated toward themselves, the lower they rated the ta rget peers negative ev ent as having been a result of mere bad luck. As bad luck is an attribution that does not admit personal or internal responsibility, this may be indicative of a sense of responsibility expected of the target peer these less self-judging individuals were writing about. General Discussion Review Previously research has revealed a strong relationship between the experience of self-compassion and psychological well-being (e.g. Neff et al., 2007b). The aim of this study was to further develop these findings w ith respect to the influence of social perspective-taking and relationship satisfacti on. We hope to incorporate this into this established, growing body of literature as to further enhance our knowledge of the particular processes that can contribute to the enhancem ent of one's sense of selfcompassion, and consequentially, a collectiv e sense of wellbeing. The present studies specifically investigated whet her self-compassion was related to social awareness style and relationship satisfaction. The investigation incorporated the tw o distinct means of adopting another's perspective and thusly perceiving another's experience: imagine other and imagine self. The literature on social perspective taking t hus far has shown that perceiving another either involves the more altruistically motiv ated imagining of how the other person feels
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 41 and what he or she is experien cing as an individual (imagi ne other), or it involves the more egoistic imagining of how you would feel or experience something yourself (imagine self). Self-compassion has been show n to be connected to more adept social functioning (e.g., Neff et al., 2007b) and hi gher ratings of feelings of social connectedness ( e.g., Gilbert, 2005). As perspec tive-taking is believed to facilitate this potential for social connectedness (e.g., L ong & Andrews, 1990), these constructs were expected to be related. Limitations Two main limitations of this study are the previously unclear nature of the perspective-taking instructions given in the second experiment as well as the age of the participants sampled. Not only has research suggested that perspective-taking abilities increase with age (Davis & Franzoi, 1991), but furthermore, that self-compassion has a small but significant associ ation with age as well (N eff & Vonk, 2009). (This would explain why self-compassion is strongly a ssociated with emotional intelligence and wisdom [Neff, 2009]). It is possible that the college-aged participants in this study might not possess an ideal adeptness at shifting pe rspectives and adopting another's point of view at this point in their development, and future studies should investigate the lifetime development and progression of perspective-taki ng abilities. Other limitations include the small sample sizes and the ungeneralizable nature of the sample. The present sample consisted of predominately white undergraduate students around the same age attending a small public lib eral arts university, for instance. This particular demographic may not have been su fficiently representative of the larger
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 42 population. The closeness of the researcher to a portion of the particip ants may have also skewed the results. These participants may not have taken the experimental questions as seriously, or they may have adjusted their responses based on eith er their knowledge of the researcher or for fear of not having total anonymity. The way in which the interconnected nature of the constituents of self-compassion have been represented in this exploration in comparison to the way they have been represented in prior resear ch should not be overlooked. Whereas only common humanity was a significant component appearing markedly in this investiga tion, this may be a result of the social lens commanded of participants th rough the survey questions. The specific Social Awareness questions sele cted, for instance, may have prompted participants to think about themselves and their empathic approach in a more otheroriented (and thus connected) way. Future re search must continue to find ways in which the particular social awareness styles not inve stigated here might also be influenced by the subscales of self-compa ssion. Additionally, the present studies are lacking a more directional hypothesis re garding the potential influences of mindfulness and self-kindness on common humanity. It may be that the de velopment of mindfulness and self-kindness may be the basis for strengthening ones ability to experience common humanity awareness. As the present studies suggest the common humanity awareness may promote relationship satisfaction and the use of a less egoistic perspe ctive-taking style, harnessing the other components of self-compassion ma y aid the betterment of this ability. Meditating on or developing mindfulness may be practiced in the service of awareness of common humanity, for example (Schecter, 2008).
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 43 What Makes Positive Interpers onal Relationships Possible? Davis and Oathout (1987) found that perceptions of partners' behaviors were directly related to couples' relationship satis faction. The researcher s incorporated three facets of empathy to measure perceptions of partners: perspective taking, the cognitive tendency to see things from another's point of view; empathic concern, the tendency to experience feelings of sympathy and compassion for others; and personal distress, the tendency to experience personal feelings of distress and anxiety in the presence of distressed others. The perspective-taking comp onent to the scale tapped into the cognitive facet of empathy, which was also one of the constituents of interest in our study. Davis and Oauthout (1987) identified perspective-taking as play ing a prominent role in maintaining satisfaction in longer relations hips. In our study, it was self-compassion (specifically, 'common humanity') that wa s positively associated to relationship satisfaction in peer, friend, and romantic relationships. Each study upholds the idea that one's responses to others, both cognitive and affective, play a significant role in enhancing or diminishing one's relational competence. The relationship between self-compassion (more specifically, its component of common humanity) and participants' relationshi p satisfaction falls in line with the links found in Schechter's (2008) dissertation be tween the experience of self-compassion, human connectedness or 'awareness of common humanity', and empathy. In Schecther's (2008) work, awareness of co mmon humanity was found to be connected to increased feelings of social connectedness as well as to higher reported ratings of empathy and compassion. This suggests that common humanity promotes an empathic and relative
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 44 correspondence between people. It is the researchers belief that this woul d explain the relationship between self-compassion and rela tionship satisfaction found in the present investigation. Furthermore, while social awareness styl e was not associated with relationship satisfaction directly, a rela tionship did appear between use of the imagine other perspective and participants' strength of common humanity. This meant that whereas perspective-taking was not influenced by having a more self-compassionate nature overall, the feelings of connectedness that are developed along with the development of a self-compassionate attitude still play a cr ucial role. Combined w ith Schechter's (2008) research, our finding suggests that the proper perspective-taking cognitions and behaviors may have a positive influence on the developm ent of feelings of connectedness that should later promote and allow for the facili tation of more satisf ying relationships. The imagine other perspective's tie to common humanity may also stem from the lessened attachment to ego as outlined in Bats on et al.'s (1997) study. In his investigation regarding the empathic impact on perspectiv e-taking, he found that the imagine other perspective allowed for the occurrence of more altruistic and less egoistic motivations in helping behavior. As our study indicated that individuals with a high common humanity rating are more likely to use the imagine other perspective, it seems plausible to hypothesize that an understanding of common humanity fosters ones ability to perceive others less egoistically. This is particularly interesting as common humanity is key for self-compassion, suggesting that the better relationship with oneself, the more likely one is to relate less egotistically to others.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 45 Combined with the efforts of Schecter (2008) and Batson et al (1997), it appears plausible that more self-compassionate individuals adopt the perspective of others more readily, if not predominately. This is perh aps due to a heightened adeptness at shifting perspectives with respect to their feeli ngs of connectedness brought on by a heightened and/or implicit sense of common humanity. Th is may be further enhanced by a lessened attachment to egoistic motivations and subse quently one's ego more generally. After all, people who are high in egoistic strivings tend to simply retain their own perspective and show less of a tendency to sh ift perspective and think about others' experiences (Sheldon, 1996). Future research should investigate the merits of th is claim and whether or not common humanity is the factor instilling the sense of secu rity in self-compassionate individuals that enables them to connect better with others and consequen tially, enable individuals to show more compassionate behaviors and build more satisfying bonds overall. Implications of Self-C ompassion and Social Healing The present findings contribute to th e movement connecting Buddhist philosophy with western psychology and offer insight into interpreting how compassion might be useful in the process of social healing. They help to narrow the daunting divide known as the self-other disconnect and increase understa nding of what makes positive interpersonal relationships possible. Self-compassion may be the key to enabling individuals to break away from self-focused thoughts and more eff ectually give attention to a sufferer. This would be particularly beneficial in clinical practice and may also allow for positive therapeutic outcomes in both more general a nd in more specialized ways. The findings
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 46 favor of the idea that meditating on (and thus developing) self-compassion, with a specific focus on common humanity, proves adva ntageous in promoting the kind of selfcare necessary to perceive and empathize with others most effectually. As past research has outlined, this provides promising implications for re lationships between psychotherapists and patients. Similarly, coaching and instilling a sense of common humanity in a therapy setting would also serve to strengthen satisfying social relationships of the peer, frie nd, and romantic varieties. This paper further enhances the literature in its purs uit of an approach to the interminable cycle that is (1) defining and loving both the self and others-, and2) confronting the inevitable discom forts of self-other alienation. It is possible that an awareness of common humanity enables people to more comfortably and deliberately reduce their personal sense of uniqueness to in turn reduce feelings of shame and/or loneliness. These findings advocate a continued investigation in support of the belief that people using the imagine other perspective are more in touch with themselves, experience a heightened sense of belonging, and thusly are also better at percei ving others in a more discerning manner that is less tapered by egoism. While they are aware of a self-other distinction, they also maintain a feeling of connectedness (as they accept there are not really all that many differences between th emselves and others.) People predominately using the imagine self pers pective, however, are po ssibly less comfortable or compassionate with themselves, and as such, use the least effortful form of perspectivetaking by merely projecting their thoughts and emotions on others when they are perceiving them. This is not awareness of common humanity, however; this is just an
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 47 extension of their self-focused thoughts. A goal of future research should be to more comprehensively investigate these speculative claims. Finally, perhaps by learning not to focu s on one's aloneness or isolation, one may then be able to experience belonging and affiliation more freely. The present results indicate that what should be most ther apeutically helpful towards breaking this identification with isolation from others would be to educate individuals on how to better see the world through others' eyes, subsequent ly enhancing their f eelings of social connectedness. It is critical to examine whether direct exposure to others' vulnerabilities (such as shame and loneliness) through the imagine other perspective can inspire both an enhanced sense of compassion for that other as well as an enhanced sense of compassion for oneself. It is our belief that that the development of each is dependent on the development of the other.
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Exchange of Self for Oth ers 58 Appendix A Social Awareness Scale Items *1. I often try to come up with my own explan ation for why people feel or think a certain way, rather than accepting theirs. **2. I find it natural to iden tify with others' needs. *3. When people lie to me, I often catch them because their voice and eyes give them away. **4. I can usually pick up the fact that a pe rson is pleased about the way he/she looks. *5. I can usually tell when another person is overdramatizing in their emotional responses to events. **6. I can really put myself in other people's situations. *7. I can usually see right through people's acts. **8. I can tell what sort of image someone is trying to project. *9. I frequently see people whose emotions are being manipulated by others around them, but they don't know it. **10. When talking to others I tend to get absorb ed in their concerns, even if they are not my concerns. *11. I tend to pay attention to the appearance or behavior of other people from my own point of view. **12. When people who are overdressed walk into a party, I am aware of their uneasiness
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 59 about how they look. *13. I usually know how others feel, even if they don't know it themselves. **14. I tend to empathize with other people's problems, even when I know they brought them upon themselves. *15. I can figure out a lot about people just be watching them interact in social situations. **16. I often get a sense of how othe r people are evaluating themselves. *17. I'm interested in others' experiences, because I try to figure out for myself what is going on with them. **18. More than most, I can put myself in another's shoes. *19. I like to observe and critique how ot hers are acting in varying situations. **20. I can tell when someone is embarrassed about their accent or hairstyle. *21. I sometimes disagree with people's explanations for why they feel a certain way. **22. When someone tells me about something that happened to them, it is as if I were totally in their world. *23. I can tell by the way a person carries him/ herself whether he/she is being genuine. **24. I always catch it when someone is ner vous about talking in front of groups of people. *25. I often evaluate other people's feelings to determine whether they are justified. **26. I can almost become other peopl e when I'm listening to them.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 60 *27. I am alert to how other pe ople manage their appearance. **28. It's not hard to pick up on other people's self-images. *29. It is usually easy for me to figur e out why others feel the way they do. **30. I can get into another's experience even if I have never experienced anything similar. *31. I can usually tell from others' body language when they are trying to hide something from me. **32. I am often aware of another's self-c onsciousness about their appearance. ______________________________________________________________________ Other's Experience & Appearance from Self's Perspective ( Imagine Self) ** Other's Experience & Appearance from Other's Perspective (Imagine Other)
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 61 Appendix B Self-Compassion Scale Items 1. Im disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies. 2. When Im feeling down I tend to obse ss and fixate on everything thats wrong. 3. When things are going badly for me, I see th e difficulties as part of life that everyone goes through. 4. When I think about my inadequacies, it tend s to make me feel more separate and cut off from the rest of the world. 5. I try to be loving towards myself when Im feeling emotional pain. 6. When I fail at something important to me I become consumed by feelings of inadequacy. 7. When I'm down and out, I remind myself th at there are lots of other people in the world feeling like I am.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 62 8. When times are really diffic ult, I tend to be tough on myself. 9. When something upsets me I try to keep my emotions in balance. 10. When I feel inadequate in some way, I try to remind myself that feelings of inadequacy are shared by most people. 11. Im intolerant and impatient towards t hose aspects of my pe rsonality I don't like. 12. When Im going through a very hard time, I give myself the ca ring and tenderness I need. 13. When Im feeling down, I tend to feel like most other people are probably happier than I am. 14. When something painful happens I try to take a balanced view of the situation. 15. I try to see my failings as part of the human condition.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 63 16. When I see aspects of myself that I dont like, I get down on myself. 17. When I fail at something important to me I try to keep thi ngs in perspective. 18. When Im really struggling, I tend to feel like other people must be having an easier time of it. 19. Im kind to myself when Im experiencing suffering. 20. When something upsets me I get carried away with my feelings. 21. I can be a bit cold-hearted towards myself when I'm experiencing suffering. 22. When I'm feeling down I try to approach my feelings with cu riosity and openness. 23. Im tolerant of my own flaws and inadequacies. 24. When something painful happens I tend to blow the incident out of proportion.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 64 25. When I fail at something that's important to me, I tend to feel alone in my failure. 26. I try to be understanding and patient toward s those aspects of my personality I don't like. ________________________________________________________________________ Self-Kindness Items: 5, 12, 19, 23, 26 Self-Judgment Items: 1, 8, 11, 16, 21 Common Humanity Items: 3, 7, 10, 15 Isolation Items: 4, 13, 18, 25 Mindfulness Items: 9, 14, 17, 22 Over-identified Items: 2, 6, 20, 24
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 65 Appendix C Relationship Satisfaction Scale Items 1. In general, how satisfied ar e you with your relationships? 2. How rewarding have your relationships been? 3. I tend to have a warm and comfortable relationships with people. 4. The choices on the following scale repres ent different degrees of happiness in your relationships. The middle point, "Happy" represents the de gree of happiness of most relationships. Please select the answer which best desc ribes the degree of ha ppiness, all things considered, of your relationships.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 66 Appendix D New College of Florida Informed Consent For persons 18 years of age or older who take part in a research study The following information is being presented to help you decide wh ether or not you want to take part in research study. Please r ead this carefully. If you do not understand anything, ask the person in charge of the study. Title of research study: Social Awareness Person in charge of study: Meg deCordre The purpose of this research study is to see if forms of social awareness are connected to how people treat themselves and perceive their relationships more generally. Description You are invited to participate in a research study on forms of social awareness and how we relate to ourselves and ot hers. To find this information, the experiment calls for a survey consisting of questions which will touch on these aspects. You will be asked to fill out a survey which has been compiled fr om three scales concerning your social perspective, behaviors, and personality st yle. Your answers will be completely anonymous, sealed in an envelope to be scor ed later, and will never be disclosed to anyone except the researcher. Your particip ation will take approximately 15 minutes. Benefits of Being a Part of this Research Study By taking part in this study, you will increa se our overall knowledge of relationships between social awarenesses and aspects of well-being. Risks of Being a Part of this Research Study There are no risks for taking part in this study. Payment for Participation You will not be paid for participation in this study. Confidentiality of Your Records Your privacy is important. However, the re sults of this study may be published. Your individual privacy will be maintained in all published and written data resulting from the study. Only authorized research personnel, em ployees of the Department of Health and Human Services and the NCF Institutional Revi ew Board may inspect the data from this research project. The data obtained from you will be combined with data from others in the publication. The published results will not include your name or any other information that would personally identify you in any way. Volunteering to Be Part of this Research Study If you have read this form and have decided to participate in this project, please understand your participation is voluntary and you have the right to withdraw your consent or discontinue particip ation at any time without pena lty or loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled. You have the right to refuse to answer particular questions.
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 67 Questions and Contacts H. If you have any questions about this re search study, contact Meg deCordre at (904) 613-5302 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org I. If you have questions about your rights as a person who is taking part in a research study, you may cont act the Human Protections Administrator of New College of Florida at (941) 487-4649 or by email at email@example.com Consent to Take Part in This Research Study By signing this form I agree that: J. I have fully read or have had read and e xplained to me this informed consent form describing this research project. K. I have had the opportunity to question one of the persons in charge of this research and have received satisfactory answers. L. I understand that I am being asked to part icipate in research. I understand the risks and benefits, and I freely give my consent to participate in the research project outlined in this form, under the conditions indicated in it. M. I have been given a copy of this informed consent form, which is mine to keep. _________________________ _________________________ _______________ Signature of Participant Printed Name of Participant Date Principal Investigator Statement I have carefully explained to the subject the nature of the above research study. I hereby certify that to the best of my knowledge the subject signing this consent form understands the nature, demands, risks, and benefits involved in participating in this study. _________________________ _________________________ _______________ Signature of Principal Investigator Printed Name of Investigator Date
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 68 Appendix E New College of Florida Informed Consent For persons 18 years of age or older who take part in a research study The following information is being presented to help you decide wh ether or not you want to take part in research study. Please read this carefully. If you do not understand anything, ask the person in charge of the study. Title of research study: Social Awareness Person in charge of study: Meg deCordre The purpose of this research study is to see if forms of social awareness are connected to how people treat themselves and perceive their relationships more generally. Description You are invited to participate in a research study on forms of social awareness and how we relate to ourselves and ot hers. To find this information, the experiment calls for a survey consisting of questions which will touch on these aspects. You will be asked to fill write out a brief narrative rega rding an experience a peer of yours has experienced (while still preserving his/her anonymity by not writing down any specific or identifying factors). You will then be asked to fill out a short survey comprised of one section which asks a few questions regarding the event you ju st wrote about, and one section regarding your social perspective, behavi ors, and personality style. Your answers will be completely anonymous, sealed in an envelope to be scor ed later, and will ne ver be disclosed to anyone except the researcher. Should you acci dentally include information revealing identifiers of yourself or the peer you write about, your narrative and accompanying data will be thrown out to preserve anonymity. Y our participation will take approximately 15 minutes. Benefits of Being a Part of this Research Study By taking part in this study, you will increa se our overall knowledge of relationships between social awarenesses and aspects of well-being. Risks of Being a Part of this Research Study There are no risks for taking part in this study. Payment for Participation You will not be paid for part icipation in this study. Confidentiality of Your Records Your privacy is important. Ho wever, the results of this st udy may be published. Your individual privacy will be maintained in a ll published and written da ta resulting from the study. Only authorized research personnel, em ployees of the Department of Health and Human Services and the NCF Institutional Review Board may inspect the data from this research project. The data obtained from you will be combined with data from others in the publication. The published results will not include your name or any other information that would personally identify you or others in any way. Volunteering to Be Part of this Research Study If you have read this form and have decided to participate in this project, please understand your participation is voluntary a nd you have the right to withdraw your consent or discontinue particip ation at any time without pena lty or loss of benefits to
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 69 which you are otherwise entitled. You have th e right to refuse to answer particular questions. Questions and Contacts D. If you have any questions about this research study, contact Meg de Cordre at (904) 6135302 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org E. If you have questions about your rights as a pe rson who is taking part in a research study, you may contact the Human Prot ections Administrator of New College of Florida at (941) 487-4649 or by email at email@example.com Consent to Take Part in This Research Study By signing this form I agree that: F. I have fully read or have had read and e xplained to me this informed consent form describing this research project. G. I have had the opportunity to que stion one of the persons in ch arge of this research and have received satisfactory answers. H. I understand that I am being as ked to participate in researc h. I understand the risks and benefits, and I freely give my consent to participate in the research project outlined in this form, under the conditions indicated in it. I. I have been given a copy of this informed consent form, which is mine to keep. _________________________ _________________________ _______________ Signature of Participant Printed Name of Participant Date Principal Investigator Statement I have carefully explained to the subject the nature of the above re search study. I hereby certify that to the best of my knowledge the subject signing this consent form understands the nature, demands, risks, and benefits involved in participating in this study. _________________________ _________________________ _______________ Signature of Principal Investigator Printed Name of Investigator Date
Exchange of Self for Oth ers 70 Table 1 Attributions of a Negative Event by Question and Perspective Condition Condition Imagine Other Imagine Self Objective Total ( n = 15) ( n = 16) ( n = 13) ( n = 44) M SD M SD M SD M SD Other People 5.94 (3.32) 7.31 (3.82) 5.77 (3.63) 6.39 (3.59) Bad Luck 4.33 (3.73) 5.38 (3.94) 4.46 (3.09) 4.75 (3.59) Peer Action 7.33 (3.69) 6.38 (3.81) 8.54 (3.28) 7.34 (3.64) Peer Traits 5.53 (3.87) 5.63 (4.36) 8.46 (3.01) 6.43 (3.97) Fault 5.07 (3.73) 6.56 (3.91) 7.23 (3.27) 6.25 (3.70)