Biology of empathy
Mason, Peggy Department of Neurobiology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
- Empathy in nonhuman mammals
- Biology underlying empathy
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Scholars in disciplines from philosophy and literature to psychology and biology assign different meanings to empathy. For the purposes of this article, empathy is defined as the affective (emotional) communication between two individuals. This is a broad definition, a lexical umbrella that encompasses a range of states from taking a cognitively complex perspective to unconscious, automatic emotional resonance. Lumping such disparate processes together is warranted because the cognitively complex forms depend on the simpler, automatic expressions of empathy. A person who is impervious to others' emotional states—for example, making fun of someone who is in pain—is unlikely to be able to imagine a friend's emotional reactions to social challenges. Simpler forms of affective communication are necessary building blocks for developing and expressing complex forms of empathic concern.
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information