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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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Empathic Processing: Its Cognitive and Affective Dimensions and Neuroanatomical Basis

Empathic Processing: Its Cognitive and Affective Dimensions and Neuroanatomical Basis

Chapter:
(p.215) 16 Empathic Processing: Its Cognitive and Affective Dimensions and Neuroanatomical Basis
Source:
The Social Neuroscience of Empathy
Author(s):

Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012973.003.0017

Cognitive and psychodynamic psychologists who study empathy have focused on its psychological dimensions rather than on brain mechanisms. However, recent experiments provide evidence that impaired empathy may be responsible for the behavioral disturbances observed in individuals suffering from both neurological and psychiatric disorders. Hence, empathy may be mediated by dedicated neural networks. This chapter examines the cognitive and affective aspects as well as the neuroanatomical underpinnings of empathic processing. It first provides an overview of cognitive and affective empathy before discussing the role of the frontal lobes in empathy, the link between impaired empathic ability and lesions in the prefrontal cortex, and the relationship between theory of mind and cognitive empathy.

Keywords:   empathy, psychiatric disorders, neural networks, affective empathy, frontal lobes, lesions, prefrontal cortex, theory of mind, cognitive empathy, brain

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