Three experiments using an algorithm for empathic responses

Warren F. Shaffer, Thomas J. Hummel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Each of 3 experiments tested an algorithm (a set of specified procedures) for directing novice counselors (university counseling students) in making empathic responses. The independent variable was assessed using CLIENT 1, a computer simulation of an initial client interview. Exp I (26 Ss) showed that an algorithm could control Ss' behavior and revealed ways to improve the algorithm, which was then rewritten and used in the subsequent studies. Exp II (28 Ss) employed a completely randomized design, and a significant difference in favor of the experimental group was found. In Exp III (32 Ss), the algorithm was modified and a randomized block design employed. The experimental group again performed significantly better. It is concluded that algorithms can affect Ss' ability to create empathic responses. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-284
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1979
Externally publishedYes


  • algorithms, empathic response training, counseling students


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