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The Social Neuroscience of Empathy$
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Jean Decety and William Ickes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012973

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012973.001.0001

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Empathy, Morality, and Social Convention: Evidence from the Study of Psychopathy and Other Psychiatric Disorders

Empathy, Morality, and Social Convention: Evidence from the Study of Psychopathy and Other Psychiatric Disorders

Chapter:
(p.139) 11 Empathy, Morality, and Social Convention: Evidence from the Study of Psychopathy and Other Psychiatric Disorders
Source:
The Social Neuroscience of Empathy
Author(s):

R. J. R. Blair

Karina S. Blair

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012973.003.0012

This chapter explores the interrelationships among empathy, morality, and social convention, drawing on evidence from research on psychopathy and other psychiatric disorders. It looks at specific neurocognitive systems and how they mediate empathy as well as specific forms of behavior appropriate for social rules. It first considers the nature of empathy and the difference between moral and conventional transgressions before looking at the role of different forms of emotional empathic response in the emergence of moral and conventional reasoning as well as how this reasoning is influenced by information regarding the mental states of the transgressors (that is, cognitive empathy). The chapter concludes with a discussion of responses to other individuals’ displays of guilt, shame, and embarrassment after they commit moral or conventional transgressions.

Keywords:   empathy, morality, social convention, psychopathy, psychiatric disorders, reasoning, guilt, shame, embarrassment, transgressions

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