I’ve found a journal article on Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) cognitive + emotional empathy!!
Double dissociation between cognitive and affective empathy in borderline personality disorder by Harari et al. 2010 in Psychiatry Research;
This article suggests that those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) experience higher emotional empathy and less cognitive empathy than those without BPD who show the opposite pattern. With reference to research done by BPD psychologist and DBT founder M.Linehan that suggests those with BPD have “heightened sensitivity of facial emotional recognition” but the ability to understand another person’s thoughts is impaired in those with BPD suggesting this may be a factor in why interpersonal relationships are difficult, to put simply.
Participants were mainly female (half of which had a secure diagnosis of BPD and the other half acted as a comparison group ie did not have symptoms of BPD) who filled a questionnaire on empathy giving examples of situations where empathy is relevant: taking on the perspective of another or imagining oneself in anothers situation as well as more emotion based empathy situations like feeling compassion for another and also reports of anxiety levels from such an example.
Participants then listened to stories involving empathy and were asked to respond, these responses were measured for cognitive or emotional empathy. It was found those with BPD had less cognitive empathy in such situations presented to them but had significantly higher emotional empathy.
Participants were then screened for psychosis, past and present symptoms, and a relationship was found between higher psychotic symptoms and less cognitive empathy - meaning cognitive dysfunction impairs such ability.
It is therefore suggested that “cognitive and [emotional] empathy are distinct phenomena and probably rely on different [brain areas & functions], albeit sharing common features.” As those with BPD respond more intensely to facial emotions than Healthy Controls, it is consistent that their emotional experiences are more intense themselves and thus resulting in more personal distress.
It’s suggested that because the brain area for cognitive empathy is “impaired” this factor may result in lower control of emotions and thus is another explanation for why those with BPD experience emotions more intensely.
It concludes that this may be the psychopathology of BPD.