The role of interpersonal movement synchronisation in empathic functions: Insights from Tango Argentino and Capoeira

Svenja Koehne, Mirjam J. Schmidt, Isabel Dziobek
Published Online:
09 Sep 2015
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 51 Issue 4

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Although evidence points to a role for kinesthetic empathy (i.e. spontaneous interpersonal movement imitation and synchronisation) in social interaction, its relationship with emotional and cognitive aspects of empathy is unknown. We compared empathy in Tango and Capoeira experts, which crucially depend on ongoing, mutual interpersonal synchronisation, with empathy in practitioners of Salsa and Breakdance, respectively, which demand less interpersonal synchronisation but are comparable concerning movements and setting. Kinesthetic empathy was increased in the Tango and Capoeira groups. Although no group differences in other aspects of empathy were detected, kinesthetic empathy correlated with emotional and cognitive empathy. Taken together, trait kinesthetic empathy varies in the general population, and appears increased in synchronisation experts.

© 2015 International Union of Psychological Science