Application of the Graded Response Model to a Scale of Empathic Behavior


Emphatic Behavior
Graded Response Model
Item Response Theory

How to Cite

Auné, S. E., Abal, F. J. P., & Attorresi, H. F. (2019). Application of the Graded Response Model to a Scale of Empathic Behavior. International Journal of Psychological Research, 12(1), 49–56.


The results obtained from the application of the Graded Response Model (GRM) to the items of the Scale of Empathic Behavior whose authors are Auné, Abal and Attorresi (2017) are presented. The sample was obtained by accessibility and consisted of Argentine university students (80% Women). None of the items presented uniform or non-uniform gender differential item functioning. The GRM assumptions of local independence and unidimensionality were successfully corroborated. Threshold parameters tended to be located at low levels of the trait scale, whereas discrimination parameters were high. The analysis of the information function showed acceptable precision in low and middle empathic behavior level.


Auné, S., Abal, F., & Attorresi, H. (2017). Propiedades Psicométricas de una Prueba de Conducta Empática. Revista Iberoamericana de Diagnóstico y Evaluación-e Avaliação Psicológica, 3 (45), 47- 56. doi:10.21865/RIDEP45.3.04

Auné, S., Blum, G., Abal, F., Lozzia, G., & Attorresi, H. (2014). La Conducta Prosocial: estado actual de la investigación. Perspectivas en Psicología, 11(2), 21-33.

Batson, C., Van Lange, P., Ahmad, N., & Lishner, D. (2003). Altruism and helping behavior. In M. A. Hogg & J. Cooper (Eds.), Sage Handbook of Social Psychology (pp. 279−295). London, UK: Sage Publication.

Bock, R. D., & Aitkin, M. (1981). Marginal maximum likelihood estimation of item parameters: Application of an EM algorithm. Psychometrika, 46(4), 443-459.

Cai, L. (2012). flexMIRT: Flexible multilevel item factor analysis and test scoring [Computer software]. Seattle, WA: Vector Psychometric Group, LLC.

Cai, L., Thissen, D., & du Toit, S. (2011). IRTPRO user’s guide. Lincolnwood, IL: Scientific Software International.

Caprara, G., Steca, P., Zelli, A., & Capanna, C. (2005). A new scale for measuring adults’ prosocialness. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 21(2), 77-89. doi:10.1027/1015-5759.21.2.77

Chen, W., & Thissen, D. (1997). Local dependence indices for item pairs using item response theory. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 22(3), 265-289. doi:10.3102/10769986022003265

De Ayala, R. J. (2009). The theory and practice of item response theory. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Decety, J. (2015). The neural pathways, development and functions of empathy. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 3, 1-6. doi:10.1016/j. cobeha.2014.12.001

Decety, J. (2017). Moral Progress Requires a Coupling Between Empathy and Reason ? A Social Neuroscience Perspective. In Cultural Patterns and Neurocognitive Circuits II (Vol. Volume 5, pp. 187–209). WORLD SCIENTIFIC. doi:10.1142/9789813230484_0009

Decety, J., & Cowell, J. (2014). The complex relation between morality and empathy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18(7), 337-339. doi:10.1016/j. tics.2014.04.008

Decety, J., & Meyer, M. (2008). From emotion resonance to empathic understanding: A social developmental neuroscience account. Development and psychopathology, 20(4), 1053-1080. doi:10.1017/S0954579408000503

Decety, J., & Svetlova, M. (2012). Putting together phylogenetic and ontogenetic perspectives on empathy. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 2(1), 1-24. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2011.05.003

Derntl, B., Finkelmeyer, A., Eickhoff, S., Kellermann, T., Falkenberg, D., Schneider, F., & Habel, U. (2010). Multidimensional assessment of empathic abilities: neural correlates and gender differences. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35(1), 67-82. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.10.006

Dunfield, K. A. (2014). A construct divided: prosocial behavior as helping, sharing, and comforting subtypes. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 958. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00958

Escurra Mayaute, M., & Salas Blas, E. (2014). Construcción y validación del cuestionario de adicción a redes sociales (ARS). Liberabit, 20(1), 73-91.

Hay, D., & Cook, K. (2007). The transformation of prosocial behavior from infancy to childhood. In C. A. Brownell & C. B. Kopp (Eds.), Socioemotional development in the toddler years: Transitions and transformations (pp. 100-131). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Hernández Baeza, A., Muñiz Fernández, J., & García Cueto, E. (2000). Comportamiento del modelo de respuesta graduada en función del número de categorías de la escala. Psicothema, 12(2), 288-291.

Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural equation modeling: a multidisciplinary journal, 6(1), 1-55. doi:10.1080/10705519909540118

Langer, M. (2008). A reexamination of Lord’s Wald test for differential item functioning using item response theory and modern error estimation (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Lorenzo-Seva, U., & Ferrando, P.J. (2013). Factor 9.2: A Comprehensive Program for Fitting Exploratory and Semiconfirmatory Factor Analysis and IRT Models. Applied Psychological Measurement, 37(6), 497-498. doi:10.1177/0146621613487794

Maydeu Olivares, A., & Joe, H. (2005). Limited and full information estimation and testing in 2n contingency tables: A unified framework. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 100(471), 1009-1020. doi:10.1198/016214504000002069

Maydeu-Olivares, A., & Joe, H. (2006). Limited information goodness-of-fit testing in multidimensional contingency tables. Psychometrika, 71(4), 713-732. doi:10.1007/s11336-005-1295-9

Morales Rodríguez, M. & Suárez Pérez, C. D. (2011). Construcción y validación de una escala para evaluar habilidades prosociales en adolescentes. Ponencia. XI Congreso Nacional de Investigación Educativa. Consejo Mexicano de Investigación Educativa, Delegación Coyoacán, México, Distrito Federal.

Reise, S. & Revicki, D. (2015). Age-old problems and modern solutions. In Reise, S. & Revicki, D. (eds.) Handbook of ítem Response Theory Modeling. Applications to Typical Performance Assessment (pp. 3-12). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Reise, S., & Waller, N. (1990). Fitting the two-parameter model to personality data. Applied Psychological Measurement, 14(1), 45-58. doi:10.1177/014662169001400105

Orlando, M., & Thissen, D. (2000). Likelihood-based item fit indices for dichotomous item response theory models. Applied Psychological Measurement, 24(1), 50-64. doi:10.1177/01466216000241003

Orlando, M., & Thissen, D. (2003). Further investigation of the performance of S-χ2: An item fit index for use with dichotomous item response theory models. Applied Psychological Measurement, 27, 289-298. doi:10.1177/0146621603027004004

Paulus, M., Kühn-Popp, N., Licata, M., Sodian, B., & Meinhardt, J. (2013). Neural correlates of prosocial behavior in infancy: different neurophysiological mechanisms support the emergence of helping and comforting. Neuroimage, 66, 522-530. doi:10.1016/j. neuroimage.2012.10.041

Samejima, F. (1969). Estimation of latent ability using a response pattern of graded scores. Psychometrika monograph supplement, 17(4), 2. doi:10.1002/j.2333-8504.1968.tb00153.x

Shamay-Tsoory, S., Aharon-Peretz, J., & Perry, D. (2009). Two systems for empathy: a double dissociation between emotional and cognitive empathy in inferior frontal gyrus versus ventromedial prefrontal lesions. Brain, 132(3), 617-627. doi:10.1093/brain/awn279

Timmerman, M. E., & Lorenzo-Seva, U. (2011). Dimensionality Assessment of Ordered Polytomous Items with Parallel Analysis. Psychological Methods, 16(2), 209-220. doi:10.1037/a0023353

Toland, M. (2014). Practical guide to conducting an item response theory analysis. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 34(1), 120-151. doi:10.1177/0272431613511332

Vistoli, D., Lavoie, M., Sutliff, S., Jackson, P. L., & Achim, A. M. (2017). Functional MRI examination of empathy for pain in people with schizophrenia reveals abnormal activation related to cognitive perspective-taking but typical activation linked to affective sharing. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience: JPN, 42(4), 262. doi:10.1503/ jpn.160136

Warneken, F., & Tomasello, M. (2009). The roots of human altruism. British Journal of Psychology, 100(3), 455-471. doi:10.1348/000712608X379061

Winter, K., Spengler, S., Bermpohl, F., Singer, T., & Kanske, P. (2017). Social cognition in aggressive offenders: Impaired empathy, but intact theory of mind. Scientific reports, 7(1), 670. doi:10.1038/ s41598-017-00745-0

Woods, C. (2009). Empirical selection of anchors for tests of differential item functioning. Applied Psychological Measurement, 33(1), 42-57. doi:10.1177/0146621607314044

Yu, C.-Y. (2002). Evaluating cutoff criteria of model fit indices for latent variable models with binary and continuous outcomes (Doctoral dissertation). Los Angeles, CA. Retrieved from

The work that is sent to this journal must be original, not published or sent to be published elsewhere; and if it is accepted for publication, authors will agree to transfer copyright to International Journal of Psychological Research. 

To give up copyright, the authors allow that, International Journal of Psychological Research, distribute the work more broadly, check for the reuse by others and take care of the necessary procedures for the registration and administration of copyright; at the same time, our editorial board represents the interests of the author and allows authors to re-use his work in various forms. In response to the above, authors transfer copyright to the journal, International Journal of Psychological Research. This transfer does not imply other rights which are not those of authorship (for example those that concern about patents). Likewise, preserves the authors rights to use the work integral or partially in lectures, books and courses, as well as make copies for educational purposes. Finally, the authors may use freely the tables and figures in its future work, wherever make explicit reference to the previous publication in International Journal of Psychological Research. The assignment of copyright includes both virtual rights and forms of the article to allow the editorial to disseminate the work in the manner which it deems appropriate. 

The editorial board reserves the right of amendments deemed necessary in the application of the rules of publication.


Download data is not yet available.