In 2 studies, we investigated the proposition that empathy and disgust are related at a “self”-involved level. In Study 1, 42 undergraduates completed 5 personality questionnaires. Their responses were examined to assess the relationship between dispositional empathy and disgust sensitivity, in contrast to dispositional happiness. Results showed that disgust sensitivity was positively related to a “self-focused” measure of empathy and that in particular, the core disgust and animal reminder subscales of the Disgust Scale—Revised (DS-R) were positively associated with this empathy measure. When the data were examined by sex, all findings became stronger among women and statistically unreliable among men. Study 2 focused on further investigating these findings with 64 female undergraduates. Individual differences in self-focused dimensions of emotional empathy replicated and extended the relationships with the core and animal reminder subscales of the DS-R that were found in Study 1. In both studies some associations between cognitive empathy and happiness were also observed. Our results support the novel proposition that “selfishness” reflects an underlying mechanism through which empathy and disgust are connected and that certain aspects of disgust may involve empathizing with the self.

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