Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10356/138138
Title: Baby don't cry : measuring the empathetic response towards infant cries in a Singaporean nonparent context
Authors: Ng, Xinyao
Keywords: Social sciences::Psychology
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Abstract: Females and feminine gender roles are considered to be more empathetic according to societal stereotypes and experimental studies. Therefore, they are expected to respond more empathetically in difficult situations, such as when one hears an infant crying. Crying, which serves as the primary means of communication for infants, is often perceived as aversive, thereby activating empathy-related brain areas. However, few neuroimaging studies that examine the empathetic response towards infant cries, or the effects of gender roles on such an empathetic response have been conducted. This study aims to (1) examine the empathetic responses towards infant cries of different intensities; (2) investigate sex differences in empathetic responses toward infant cries; and (3) assess whether individuals’ empathetic responses are moderated by the gender roles they are classified as using the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI). In this study, the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (TEQ) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) were used to measure the nonparent participants’ (n = 38) trait empathy and empathetic response towards mild and intense infant cries respectively. Results showed that a higher empathetic response was elicited for mild cry intensities in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a core neural processing region of empathy. Nonsignificant sex differences in empathetic response was observed in the mPFC. Masculinity, not femininity, was correlated with an empathetic response in the mPFC in response to intense but not mild infant cries. Overall, our results suggest the existence of differing empathetic responses towards mild and intense infant vocalizations, with gender roles moderating the response.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10356/138138
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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