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Connection of the empathy with some parameters of executive functions in primary school children

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2019. Vol. 8. No. 6. Pp. 403-409.
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Nikolaeva E. I.
Herzen state pedagogical university; Bunin Yelets State University
48 Moika River Embankment, 191186 Petersburg, Russia; 28.1 Kommunarov Street, 399770 Yelets, Russia
Bezlepkina A. A.
Herzen state pedagogical university
48 Moika River Embankment, 191186 Petersburg, Russia


The ability to sympathize, empathize, be involved in the state of another person, to understand that has caused the emotional state is called empathy. The importance of this ability is difficult to overestimate, and therefore the study on empathy is of high relevance. Earlier, there was found out some association between executive functions and empathy, but the evidence is highly controversial. Nonetheless, understanding that by developing the ability to control themselves (inhibitory control) and to plan their own behavior (working memory), you can at the same time teach empathy to a child, would contribute to the development of appropriate programs in schools. The study is aimed at describing the possible links between inhibitory processes and working memory as components of executive functions and the level of empathy. The study involved 32 students (17 boys and 11 girls) 8-9 years old (8.9 ± 0.3 years). To assess the effectiveness of inhibitory control, the technique go/go and go/no-go was used (Vergunov, Nikolaeva, 2009). To describe the characteristics of the working memory and interference processes in it, the program complex of O. M. Razumnikova was used. To assess the level of empathy as a personal trait, a questionnaire developed by A. Mehrabian and M. Epstein was used adapted in Russian by Yu. M. Orlov and Yu. N. Emelianov. The SPSS-21 software package was used to process the results. Linear regression analysis was carried out to identify the level of influence of the studied variables on each other. It was shown that the level of empathy of girls is higher than that of boys; the level of empathy in younger students is not associated with inhibitory processes; the level of empathy is associated with the stability of the reproduction of material in working memory.


  • • empathy
  • • primary school students
  • • inhibitory processes
  • • working memory


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