Publicado May 22, 2017


Google Scholar
Search GoogleScholar

Leonardo Sampaio Leo



Previous studies have showed development in perspective-taking abilities and empathy along childhood, and suggested the existence of relationships between these variables and aspects of culture. The study presented here investigated the relationship between empathy and role-taking in a sample composed by American and Brazilian children, aged 6 to 13. The method involved the administration of the Index of Empathy for Children and Adolescent – IECA (Bryant, 1982) and one Role-taking task. Results showed that American children scored higher in Role-taking than Brazilian participants. On the other hand, Brazilian children scored higher in empathy than American participants. Results are discussed considering previous cross-cultural studies on social and cognitive development.


children, empathy, role-taking, United States of America, BrazilChildren, Empathy, Role-taking, Brazil, USA

Agudelo de Arango, A. (1997). Valores y socialización: un estudio transcultural. (Tesis Doctoral, Universidad de Valencia). Retrieved from

Batson, C. D. (2009). These Things Called Empathy: Eight related but distinct phenomena. In J. Decety & W. Ickes (Eds.). The Social Neuroscience of Empathy (pp. 3-16). Cambridge: MIT Press.

Batson, C. D., Lishner, D. A., Carpenter, A., Dulin, L., Harjusola-Webb, S., Stocks, E., … Sampat, B. (2003). “… As you would have them do unto you”: Imagining yourself in the other’s place stimulate moral action? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(9), 1190-1201.

Borke, H. (1973). The development of empathy in Chinese and American children between three and six years of age: a cross-culture study. Developmental Psychology, 9(1), 102-108. Retrieved from

Bornstein, M.H., Haynes, O.M., Azuma, H., Galperín, C., Maital, S., Ogino, M., … Wright, B. (1998). A cross-national study of self-evaluations and attributions in parenting: Argentina, Belgium, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, and the United States. Developmental Psychology, 34(4), 662-676. Retrieved from

Bryant, B.K. (1982). An index of empathy for children and adolescent. Child development, 53(2), 413-425.

Castle, K.S., & Richards, H. (1979). Adult/ peer interaction and role-taking ability among preschool children. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 135(1), 71-79.

Chambers, J. R. & Davis, M. H. (2012). The role of the self in perspective-taking and empathy: ease of self-simulation as a heuristic to inferring empathic feelings. Social Cognition, 30(2), 153-180.

Davis, M.H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of personality and social psychology, 44(1), 113-136. Retrieved from

Davis, M. H., Soderlund, T., Cole, J., Gadol, E., Kute, M., Myers, M., & Weihing, J. (2004). Cognitions associated with attempts to empathize: How do we imagine the perspective of another? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30(12), 1625-1635. Retrieved from

Eisenberg, N. (2000). Emotion, regulation and moral development. Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 665-697. Retrieved from

Escrivá, V. M., Navarro, M.D.F., & García, P.S. (2004). La medida de la empatía: análisis del Interpersonal Reactivity Index. Psicothema, 16(2), 255-260. Retrieved from

Flavell, J. (1968). The development of role-taking and communication skills in children. New York: Wiley.

Freitas, L. B.L., Sherry, T.L., & Tudge, J.R.H. (2008). Conceptions of US and Brazilian early childhood care and education: A historical and comparative analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 32(2), 161-170. Retrieved from

Garaigordobil, M., & Galdeano, P.G. (2006). Empatía en niños de 10 a 12 años. [Empathy in 10-12-year-olds]. Psichotema, 18(2), 180-186. Retrieved from

Gouveia, V. V., & Clemente, M. (2000). O individualismo-coletivismo no Brasil e na Espanha: correlatos sócio-demográficos. [The individualism and collectivism in Brazil and Spain: sociodemographic correlates]. Estudos de Psicologia, 5(2), 317-346. Retrieved from

Heinke, M.S., & Louis, W.R. (2009). Cultural background and individualistic-collectivistic values in relation to similarity, perspective-taking and empathy. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39(11), 2570–2590.

Hoffman, M. L. (1987). The contribution of empathy to justice and moral judgment. In N. Eisenberg, & E. Strayer (Eds.), Empathy and its development. (pp. 47-79) New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hoffman, M. L. (1991). Empathy, Social Cognition and Moral Action. In W. M. Kurtines, & J. L. Gewirtz, (Eds.), Handbook of Moral Behavior and Development. New Jersey: LEA.

Hoffman, M. L. (2000). Empathy and Moral Development: implications for caring and justice. Cambridge University Press: New York.

Hsu, H.C., & Lavelli, M. (2005). Perceived and observed parenting behavior in American and Italian first-time mothers across the first 3 months. Infant Behavior & Development, 28(4), 503–518.

Kagan, S., & Knudson, K.H.M. (1982). Relationship of empathy and affective role-taking in young children. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 141, 149-150.

Knafo, A., Zahn-Waxler, C., Hulle, C.V., Robinson, J.A., & Rhee, S.H. (2008). The developmental origins of a disposition toward empathy: genetic and environmental Contributions. Emotion, 8(6), 737-752.

Koller, S.H., Camino, C., & Ribeiro, J. (2002). Adaptação e validação interna de duas escalas de empatia para uso no Brasil. [Adaptation and internal validation of two empathy scales for use in Brazil] Estudos de Psicologia, 18(3), 43-53. .

Kurtz, C. A., & Eisenberg, N. (1983). Role-taking, empathy and resistance to deviation in children. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 142(1), 85-95.

Lecce, S., & Hughes, C. (2010). ‘The Italian job?’: Comparing theory of mind performance in British and Italian children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28(4), 747–766.

Levine, R.L., Norenzayan, A., & Philbrick, K. (2001). Cross-cultural differences in helping strangers. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32(5), 543-560. Retrieved from

Lozano, A. M., & Etxebarria, I. (2007). La tolerancia a la diversidad en los adolescentes y su relación con la autoestima, la empatía y el concepto del ser humano. Infancia y Aprendizaje, 30(1), 109-129. Retrieved from

Luk, K.K.S., Xiao, W.S., & Cheung, H. (2012). Cultural effect on perspective taking in Chinese-English bilinguals. Cognition, 124(3), 350-355.

Matsumoto, D., Yoo, S.H., Fontaine, J., Anguas-Wong, A.M., Arriola, M., Ataca, B., … Grossi, E. (2008). Mapping Expressive Differences around the World: The Relationship between Emotional Display Rules and Individualism versus Collectivism. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 39(1), 55-74. Retrieved from

Ribeiro, R., Pompéia, S., & Bueno, O. (2005). Comparison of Brazilian and American norms for the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 27(3), 208-215.

Rodrigues, A., & Assmar, E. (1988). On some aspects of distributive justice in Brazil. Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 22(1-2), 1-20. Retrieved from

Sampaio, L. R., Guimarães, P. R. B., Camino, C. P. S., Formiga, N. S., & Menezes, I. G. (2011). Estudos sobre a dimensionalidade da empatia: tradução e adaptação do Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI). Psico, 42(1), 67-76. Retrieved from

Selman, R.L. (1971a). Taking another’s perspective: role-taking development in early childhood. Child Development, 42(6), 1721-1734.

Selman, R.L. (1971b). The relation of role-taking to the development of moral judgement in children. Child Development, 42(1), 79-91.

Selman, R.L., & Byrne, D.F. (1974). A structural analysis of levels of role-taking in middle childhood. Child Development, 45(3), 803-806.

Sistrunk, F., Glement, D. E., & Guenther, Z. G. (1971). Developmental Comparisons of Conformity across Two Cultures. Child Development, 42(4), 1175-1185.

Strayer, J., & Roberts, W. (1989). Children’s empathy and role-taking: child and parental factors, and relations to prosocial behavior. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 10, 227-239. Retrieved from

Triandis, H.C., Bontempo, R., Villareal, M.J., Asai, M., & Lucca, N. (1988). Individualism and Collectivism: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Self-Ingroup Relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(2), 323-338.

Tudge, J.R.H., Odero, D., Piccinini, C., Doucet, F., Sperb, T.M., & Lopes, R.S. (2006). A window into different cultural worlds: young children’s everyday activities in the United States, Brazil, and Kenya. Child Development, 77(5), 1446–1469. Retrieved from

Urberg, K.A., & Docherty, E.M. (1976). Development of role-taking skills in young children. Developmental Psychology, 12(3), 198-203. Retrieved from

Vaish, A., Carpenter, M., & Tomasello, M. (2009). Sympathy through affective perspective taking and its relation to prosocial behavior in toddlers. Developmental Psychology, 45(2), 534–543.
Cómo citar
Leo, L. S. (2017). Un estudio transcultural: empatía y la toma de perspectiva en niños brasileños y estadounidenses. Universitas Psychologica, 16(1).