The crossover of positive and negative emotions: The role of state empathy

Mina Westman, Efrat Shadach, Giora Keinan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our aims were (a) to provide empirical support for the crossover process and compare positive and negative crossover intensity, and (b) to establish the role of state empathy in the crossover process. Participants were 62 army trainees participating in a training course in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). We manipulated crossover by presenting a distressed or a happy target person creating negative (distressed target person) and positive (happy target person) conditions. Participants' affect was assessed using self-report questionnaires and cognitive tasks. Results support the operation of positive and negative crossover from a target person to the trainees. Findings indicate a relative dominance of positive over negative crossover. The hypothesis that emotions cross over as a result of empathy was partially supported. We found that the condition (positive-happy or negativedistressed target person) had a stronger impact among respondents characterized by high state empathy only for positive emotions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-133
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Stress Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Crossover
  • Positive and negative emotions
  • State empathy


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