- 公益社団法人 日本心理学会
- 心理学研究 (ISSN:00215236)
- vol.88, no.4, pp.390-395, 2017-10-25 (Released:2017-10-25)
When reading narratives, readers infer the emotions of characters and empathize with them. Emphathic responses can be parallel or reactive. This study, based on the dual-process theory, investigated which emotional responses (i.e., emotion inference, parallel response, or reactive response) in reading are caused by system 1 (unconscious, implicit, automatic, low-effort process) and which depend on system 2 (conscious, explicit, controlled, high-effort process). As cognitive load affects responses influenced by system 2, the effects of working memory load on reading were examined. Participants were divided into two groups based on working memory capacity, and instructed to read narratives under a dual-tasks situation similar to the reading span test. The results revealed no effect of cognitive load on inference of characters’ emotions. However, additional load did affect both types of empathic responses in the low-capacity group. Further, when cognitive load was low, emotion inference correlated with both empathic responses. These results indicate that emotion inference is an automatic process, whereas empathic responses are controlled processes.