Empathic Accuracy for Happiness in the Daily Lives of Older Couples: Fluid Cognitive Performance Predicts Pattern Accuracy Among Men

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Abstract

Correctly identifying other’s emotional states is a central cognitive component of empathy. We examined the role of fluid cognitive performance for empathic accuracy for happiness in the daily lives of 86 older couples (mean relationship length = 45 years; mean age = 75 years) on up to 42 occasions over 7 consecutive days. Men performing better on the Digit Symbol test were more accurate in identifying ups and downs of their partner’s happiness. A similar association was not found for women. We discuss the potential role of fluid cognitive performance and other individual, partner, and situation characteristics for empathic accuracy.

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