Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-z5d2w Total loading time: 0.403 Render date: 2021-12-09T07:53:15.035Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

14 - The cognitive neuropsychology of empathy

from Part II - Empathy and related concepts in health

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2009

Jean Decety
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Chicago
Philip L. Jackson
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Laval, Canada
Eric Brunet
Affiliation:
Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington
Tom F. D. Farrow
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
Peter W. R. Woodruff
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
Get access

Summary

Introduction

Despite the plethora of definitions of empathy, most authors generally agree that it implies at least three different aspects: feeling what another person is feeling; knowing what another person is feeling; and having the intention to respond compassionately to another person's distress. Note that these aspects may be experienced independently from one another and constitute different levels of complexity ranging from empathic mimicry to sympathy. Moreover, regardless of the particular terminology used by different scholars, there is broad agreement that empathy involves three primary elements: (1) an affective response to another person, which often, but not always, entails sharing that person's emotional state; (2) a cognitive capacity to adopt the perspective of the other person; and (3) some monitoring and self-regulatory mechanisms that keep track of the origins of self and other feelings (e.g. Batson, 1991; Decety & Jackson, 2004; Ickes, 1997). The multidimensionality of the empathy construct makes it less amenable to traditional methods of study and investigation.

We propose in light of the current knowledge in neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience a model of empathy that relies on four intertwined major functional components that dynamically interact to produce this intersubjective experience. The first component, affective sharing, is based on a perception-action coupling mechanism and resulting shared representations between self and other (Preston & de Waal, 2002). Self-other awareness constitutes the second component. Empathy requires that there is no confusion between self and other even though some temporary identification between the observer and its target may occur.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
8
Cited by

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×