Put narcissists in others` shoes to arouse empathy

IANS| Updated: Jun 01, 2014, 16:40 PM IST
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London: People with narcissistic tendencies can feel empathy for another person's suffering if they are persuaded to take that person's perspective.

"If we encourage narcissists to consider the situation from their teammate or friend's point of view, they are likely to respond in a much more considerate and sympathetic way," said Erica Hepper from University of Surrey in Britain.

The researchers studied participants in three different situations and found that individuals high in narcissism were capable of higher empathy when instructed to take that person's perspective.

This result was further tested via the participants' heart beats, as increases in heart rate are known to indicate an empathic response to other people's emotions and suffering.

"This is not only good for the people around them, but also for their own well being in the long-run as empathy helps to form and maintain close relationships," Hepper added.

The study appeared in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.