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Study Links Social Anxiety To Being An Empath

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posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 05:36 AM
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**That's the title of the article and not my title.

Social cognition in social anxiety: first evidence for increased empathic abilities. The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health published the study which was conducted by the Department of Psychology at the University of Haifa Israel. The take away from this study is that people being empathic is a real thing, but it's not tied to something metaphysical but instead it's that some people are hypersensitive to being able to read the emotions of others.

Study Links Social Anxiety To Being An Empath


Have you ever felt anxious being around other people? For some, the feelings of social anxiety can be so intense that someone can feel totally paralyzed just to be out in public. Could social anxiety’s hidden link to empathy give us a greater understanding into the lives of those affected?

Social Anxiety can often be an extremely confusing, challenging and even interesting experience for many. Fear is the primary feeling generally attributed to social anxiety, and those who experience it often can’t seem to discover the origin of the social anxiety within themselves.

All logic can seem to fail in the face of social anxiety. The feelings associated may not seem to go away even with common treatments & healing techniques. Social anxiety overtime can turn into stories of being judged, not belonging or feeling so alienated that you look at Earth as the furthest thing from being at home.

A new Scientific Study recently released published on PubMed shows that people with social phobias and anxieties are hypersensitive to other peoples states of mind. People who are more socially anxious are able to discern the mental states of people much more accurately.


The Study - PubMed.GOV - Social cognition in social anxiety: first evidence for increased empathic abilities.



BACKGROUND: Individuals with social phobia (SP) show sensitivity and attentiveness to other peoples states of mind. Although cognitive processes in SP have been extensively studied, these individuals social cognition characteristics have never been examined before. We hypothesized that high socially anxious individuals (HSA) may exhibit elevated mentalizing and empathic abilities.

METHODS: Empathy was assessed using self-rating scales in HSA individuals (n=21) and low socially anxious (LSA) individuals (n=22), based on their score on the Liebowitz social anxiety scale. A computerized task was used to assess the ability to judge first and second order affective vs. cognitive mental state attributions.

RESULTS: HSA individuals exhibited elevated affective empathy tendencies. However, controlling for the general anxiety variable revealed that social anxiety was related to cognitive empathy measures, rather than affective empathy. In addition, compared with LSA participants, HSA participants exhibited higher accuracy levels on the affective mental state attribution conditions, but were less accurate than LSA individuals on the parallel cognitive mental state attribution conditions.

LIMITATIONS: Additional research with larger samples and clinically diagnosed individuals is required.

CONCLUSIONS: Results support the hypothesis that high socially anxious individuals may demonstrate a unique social-cognitive abilities profile with elevated cognitive empathy tendencies and high accuracy in affective mental state attributions.


I am of the opinion that people who are empaths have both a hyper awareness of the emotions of others and can read those emotions via body language etc ... but also I know that we all vibrate at certain frequencies and I really do think that some people are sensitive to the frequencies that others vibrate at.

Anyways, these are interesting to read. Enjoy.




posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 05:57 AM
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a reply to: [post=18886549]FlyersFan[/po


Gotta love google ,empath is something that i had to look up , well highlighted it and let google do it . Back on thread , this would be the same as someone entering a room and you automatically dislike them for no reason no . Or the person that you feel like you have know for years even though you have only just met them . People definitely give out vibes . I have been wrong about people but rarely .


+15 more 
posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 06:18 AM
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I am of the opinion that people who are empaths have both a hyper awareness of the emotions of others and can read those emotions via body language etc


I fully agree with this study and your opinion above.

I suffer from social anxiety, it's been there all my life, always had a hard time having friends and like, cause i can feel them all the way in to my bones.

I notice everything about them through body language and the way they speak.

I always end up fleeing from them, because my body and mind react after being with them for a while, and i just want to get home in my little cave, where i feel safe.

The worst part is being with my children or family, because of the love i have to them, but it's really hard to hang out with them.

My children are grown up teenagers now, so i don't see them as much as i used to, which is kind of nice but hard to say.

The good thing though, is i have had the talk with them, and they fully understand, especially my daughter, as she is a mirror of me.

It's a weird thing and a pain in the ass, i have learned to live with it though, by being aware of it, but being alone is gold for me, as there is no input from all those emotion flying through the air.
edit on 16-1-2015 by Mianeye because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 06:45 AM
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a reply to: Mianeye:

Yup. But for me, I'm an ENTJ (an extrovert) so I don't really avoid friends but my friends sure do influence how i feel after a while too. I can always shut it down and push it out but sometimes I don't even know if it's my emotion or not lol

Mainly, I get a lot of anxiety when going to places. You see, every place feels different. It depends on lots of things: the place itself, the weather outside, the sun or clouds, time of day, colors, smells, furniture etc. And I get strong vibes from some of the places that I visit. The change in perception that is brought upon by these vibes kinda weirds me out and gives me panic attacks sometimes.

edit on 16-1-2015 by rukia because: (no reason given)

edit on 16-1-2015 by rukia because: (no reason given)



a reply to: FlyersFan:

I think it's what causes the social anxiety in the first place =X

just sayin'


+2 more 
posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 08:41 AM
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Yes, that seems to be true with our family. Being anxious and aware of others, having some enhanced skills that way, and needing aloneness to refill the tank so to speak, seems to be true.



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 08:45 AM
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My social anxiety is weird
im friendly bubbly never shy to say hello, good morning

But i feel really uncomfortable around groups of people/ random parties (unless its a family get to gether)
i just cant do nightclubs/ pubs that sort of thing
i feel super uncomfortable on crowded buses too

i just dont like being around that sort of thing
i never feel uncomfortable around older people

but younger people i just get horrible vibes around and feel uncomfortable/judged/ out of place (and im young myself)
edit on 16-1-2015 by kayleighkitty because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 08:50 AM
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Yeah. INTPs don't have a great time of it in general in society. You get kind of used to not being able to explain things, to have get away to cope, so it's cool to have at least a little more science to wrap around it all. Thanks for posting this.


originally posted by: rukia
I think it's what causes the social anxiety in the first place =X

Probably so...to a huge degree.
edit on 1/16/2015 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 09:12 AM
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a reply to: FlyersFan

I researched Wikipedia on "Empath" and Empathy, etc.

It really isn't clear to me that its ever been proven that emotional empathy really exists. We've all had sympathetic feelings for people in certain situations, but that's sort of like cognitive empathy; its a feeling that wells up from within based upon our ability to reflect upon and understand how someone in pain might feel.

But emotional empathy seems to imply that some people can read or pick up vibes of emotional states of other people in proximity to the "reader" or the empath. I'm not sure that's ever been proven to be true. I've always put emotional empathy/empath types in the same category as "telepaths" and there's no scientific proof of telepathy that I'm aware of.

Maybe someday they can actually prove it.



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 09:13 AM
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originally posted by: FlyersFan

I am of the opinion that people who are empaths have both a hyper awareness of the emotions of others and can read those emotions via body language etc ... but also I know that we all vibrate at certain frequencies and I really do think that some people are sensitive to the frequencies that others vibrate at.


Reading someone's facial expressions or body language is like looking in the back of your high-school textbook for the answers. It's cheating! If you need those cues to determine someone's mental state then you're not really an empath, you're just observant and perceptive. I don't even need to be in the same room to read someone; those vibes you mention aren't affected by physical objects. Proximity to the subject is all that's needed and physical contact is like setting up a LAN.

emotion = energy in motion
patterns in energy = information

Emotions are like your brain's version of a RAR or ZIP file. It's information in it's most basic and condensed state. Being able to read that is as close as one can get to being a telepath - you'll never actually hear anyone's thoughts but you can translate their emotions using your own lexicon. It's actually more effective than the stereotypical concept of telepathy because not only do you not need to speak the same language, you don't need spoken or written language at all. In fact, it works best without language - animals are so much easier to talk to...

I don't suppose there's any way to sign up for this project? I've been clinically diagnosed with SAD and I scored an 84 on their LSAS so I'd probably make a great lab-rat...



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 09:20 AM
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originally posted by: TonyS
a reply to: FlyersFan

I researched Wikipedia on "Empath" and Empathy, etc.

It really isn't clear to me that its ever been proven that emotional empathy really exists. We've all had sympathetic feelings for people in certain situations, but that's sort of like cognitive empathy; its a feeling that wells up from within based upon our ability to reflect upon and understand how someone in pain might feel.

But emotional empathy seems to imply that some people can read or pick up vibes of emotional states of other people in proximity to the "reader" or the empath. I'm not sure that's ever been proven to be true. I've always put emotional empathy/empath types in the same category as "telepaths" and there's no scientific proof of telepathy that I'm aware of.

Maybe someday they can actually prove it.


Wow, almost at the same time. I think you may have read my mind...



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 09:33 AM
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a reply to: CretumOrbis

If you don't mind,
It don't matter! (LOL)



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 09:35 AM
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It's nice to see actual scientific research into this topic. I firmly believe that empathy and social anxiety go hand in hand, to the point that being 'hypersensitive' to the emotions of others can cause the anxiety to flare up. It's hard (and exhausting) to block out other people's vibes, at least for me, so walking out the door usually ends up feeling bombarded and overwhelmed just by the presence of other people. I personally am lousy at reading body language, lol, but I understand why the researchers want to attribute empathy to the reading of body language (that's something tangible and understandable).

Hopefully the research into this will continue, it would be nice to have science validate something that I know to be real.

Edit to add: One problem I think that could affect the validity of this or similar studies is that people aren't always honest about how they are feeling. They may be putting on a show of feeling all happy and cheerful, when on the inside they are a ball of rage or sadness. Hard to gauge the effectiveness of the empath if the other person isn't honest.
edit on 16-1-2015 by MojaveBurning because: added a thought



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 10:05 AM
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a reply to: FlyersFan

Well, it is a step forward in recognizing the phenomena. Of course, it is understood in normal mechanicalistic/materialistic ways.



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 10:15 AM
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I'm so glad they have some science to back this theory up. Being an empath is good in many situations, but it is hard to learn how to tone it down though, especially is social situations with lots of people. I can totally see how this leads to anxiety. A lot of empaths generally want to help people, and I think some of the reason they have anxiety is they can sense when someone doesn't have inner harmony, and the disharmony causes them anxiety.



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 11:06 AM
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I definitely recognize myself in this....

I'm not shy at all but I do experience social anxiety related to being hyperaware of the moods, vibes, feelings of others.

I notice it gets more PITA as I get older and also seems to be worse in casual settings like playgroups, clubs, school activities, neighborhood events. Not so much at work or with family. Not even with strangers. It's still there but not as bad.

But, crowds of any sort are a huge drain on my energy levels and coping skills.



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 11:32 AM
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a reply to: FlyersFan

As a relatively sensitive empath I can certainly see merit in this study. You just have to learn to live with it and understand that you can't fix everyone every day. The best you can do is empathize and commiserate while still remaining as aloof as possible. Its not easy though. Its a gift and a curse.
edit on Cam11Friday3720151231Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:37:12 -06002015 by CagliostroTheGreat because: cannot abide a typo



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 11:35 AM
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a reply to: FlyersFan

Sounds about right to me, although I ended up just accepting the fact that it isn't social anxiety as much as I just don't like people...lol



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 11:35 AM
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originally posted by: kosmicjack
crowds of any sort are a huge drain on my energy levels and coping skills.

Oh man .. I can relate to this. I don't know if it's an empathic thing .. or I'm becoming an old curmudgeon type .. but crowds make me cranky and tired.



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 11:38 AM
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a reply to: FlyersFan

I can't handle crowds,
I overload and want to get out and leave as soon as possible.

Clothing departments make me instantly tired if I walk into them, and by the time I hit the electronics dept, I am ready to go home.



posted on Jan, 16 2015 @ 11:38 AM
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a reply to: Mianeye

I'm an introverted extrovert... although more like a hermit these days.
:



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