Interpersonal Reactivity Index

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The Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) is a published measurement tool for the multi-dimensional assessment of empathy. It was developed by Mark H. Davis, a professor of psychology at Eckerd College.[1] The tool is widely used—the paper describing it[1] has been cited 3697 times, according to Google Scholar.[2]

The tool is a self-report comprising 28-items answered on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from “Does not describe me well” to “Describes me very well”.

The four subscales[3] are:

  1. Perspective Taking – the tendency to spontaneously adopt the psychological point of view of others.
  2. Fantasy – taps respondents' tendencies to transpose themselves imaginatively into the feelings and actions of fictitious characters in books, movies, and plays.
  3. Empathic Concern – assesses "other-oriented" feelings of sympathy and concern for unfortunate others.
  4. Personal Distress – measures "self-oriented" feelings of personal anxiety and unease in tense interpersonal settings.

Example questions:

  • 11. I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective.
  • 28. Before criticizing somebody, I try to imagine how I would feel if I were in their place.


  1. ^ a b MH Davis "Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1983 v.44:1 p.113-126 [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^

External links[edit]