Social Decentering Scale (SDS)

Redmond & Bunyi‚ 1993
1.    I get emotional over anyone’s crisis.
2.    I would be likely to feel a rush of excitement and enthusiasm while trying to guess what was making someone I didn’t know shout with joy.
3.    When I hear about other people’s problems that I’ve never personally faced‚ I imagine what my thoughts would be if I were in their situation.
4.    I have wondered what people in some foreign countries think about various world problems.
5.    Sometimes when I daydream about situations I’ve never experienced before‚ my daydreams evoke strong emotional reactions in me.
6.    I feel the pain my closest friends feel when they are in trouble.
7.    There are times when I become quite emotional while watching TV.
8.    Sometimes when I’m considering how to react to a person‚ I plan out what to do‚ and then imagine how I would feel if someone acted towards me the way I was planning to act.
9.    (Think of a particular close friend) I try to anticipate and “second guess” what my friend will say in reaction to alternate ways I might phrase a problem I want to discuss with them.
10.When I watch a news story where a child has just suffered the tragic loss of his/her parents‚ I feel some of the same feelings the child is probably ha‎ving.
11.Sometimes I can understand what others are thinking by recalling the thoughts I have had when I experienced a similar situation.
12.If I thought about it‚ I could guess what people one hundred years from now will think about various major events that are occurring now.
13.I am likely to carefully consider what I know about a friend when planning on how to best approach them for something they might be reluctant to give or lend to me.
14.I would feel some of the same feelings as a close friend (think of a particular friend) if both his/her parents were killed in an automobile accident; my friend would probably have some feelings I would not feel‚ as well.
15.The way I think and behave serves as my general basis for understanding how people in general think and behave.
16.I would feel some of the feelings that a senior citizen I was talking to might have upon learning of the death of their spouse of fifty years.
17.I think about how I would handle situations that I hear or read about when confronting other people.
18.When I hear about a person’s problem that is similar to a problem I’ve experienced‚ I usually recall what I thought and did about my problem.
19.I usually get as excited as my best friend (think of a particular friend) when I find out something exciting has happened to him/her.
20.I get emotionally involved in news stories about the tragedies and joys of other people.
21.I take into consideration both the situation and a person’s cultural and ethnic background when I’m trying to understand the behaviour of someone I don’t know very well.
22.My emotions are easily aroused when I am imagining myself in another person’s predicament.
23.(Think of a particular friendship that you have recently developed). I have tried to understand how this person thinks by considering their background‚ personality‚ maturity‚ etc.
24.I can imagine how some of my attitudes‚ beliefs‚ and values might be different from the way they are if I had been raised in a different country’s culture.
25.I know my closest friend (think of a particular friend) so well that I even know how s/he thinks most of the time.
26.My emotional state sometimes seems determined by my best friend’s emotional state; when they’re down‚ I become down‚ when they’re up I become up.
27.I know some of the values‚ attitudes and thoughts associated with different cultural and ethnic groups.
28.I have learned about some of my feelings and emotional reactions by putting myself in situations confronting ch‎aracters in movies and books‚ and other people in general.
29.I often think about what it would be like for me to be in other people’s shoes; what I would say and what I would think.
30.My closest friend and I would probably experience some of the same feelings in reaction to the news that s/he had suddenly come into a large sum of money though my feelings would be different in a few ways.
31.I tend to feel some of the pain a parent must feel about the accidental death of one of their children when I read about such a tragedy in the news.
32.(Think of a close friend who has never been in trouble with the law). This friend and I would probably have the same emotional reaction to being mistakenly arrested.
33.I can tell a lot about a stranger’s attitudes‚ beliefs and values‚ after talking to him/her for just a minute or two.
34.I pay attention to the things I learn about acquaintances as we become closer‚ so that I can better understand how they think.
35.I try to guess what the circumstances might be surrounding a stranger’s emotional outburst (crying‚ cheering‚ etc.) and my speculations would arouse an emotional reaction in me similar to the stranger’s reaction.
36.I sometimes think about how my closest friend will think about a controversial subject even before we start to discuss it.
1=Almost never true‚ 2=Infrequently true‚ 3=Sometimes true‚ 4=Frequently true 5=Almost always true
This instrument can be found at:

Redmond‚ Mark V. (1989). The Functions of Empathy (Decentering) in Human Relations. Human Relations‚ 42(7)‚ 593-605

Redmond‚ M.V. & Bunyi‚ J.M. (1993). The relationship of intercultural communication competence with stress and the handling of stress by international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations‚ 17(2)‚ 235-254.

Redmond‚ Mark V. (1995). A Multidimensional Theory and Measure of Social Decentering. Journal of Research in Personality 29(1)‚ 35-58.

Price‚ Fiona Swee-Lin. (2000). Intercultural contact‚ ethnocentrism and the mediating role of epistemology. University of Melbourne‚ Doctoral Dissertation.