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On Empathy, Memory, and Genetics: What Role Does Human Age Play?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Empathy and memory are two central aspects that make us human. In the following work, I combined these two areas with genetics and asked how they would interrelate against the background of age. At study, 28 younger and 32 older adults went through an item recognition/source memory paradigm with neutral and emotional (i.e., angry) faces. Dispositional empathy was measured using the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) and the Empathy Quotient (EQ). Further, 13 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from mainly oxytocin receptors (OXTR) were extracted. Results revealed that older adults had a lower score on the Fantasy dimension of the IRI. Younger and older adults did not differ in hit rate, but older adults showed a higher false alarm rate for neutral source memory. For emotional item recognition, older adults showed a higher liberal response bias whereas, for neutral source memory, younger adults showed a higher conservative response bias. For both memory and empathy, main effects and age interactions were found for OXTR rs237887, rs237897, rs2254298, rs4564970, and rs4686302. These findings illustrated the close interconnectivity of memory, empathy, and genetics over the human life span.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 29 p.
Stockholm studies in psychology, ISSN 0585-3591
Keyword [en]
empathy, item recognition, source memory, aging, emotion, oxytocin receptor, signal detection theory
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87168OAI: diva2:601115
2013-01-09, 153, Frescati Hagväg 14, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2013-01-28 Created: 2013-01-28 Last updated: 2013-01-28Bibliographically approved

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