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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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These Things Called Empathy: Eight Related but Distinct Phenomena

These Things Called Empathy: Eight Related but Distinct Phenomena

(p.3) 1 These Things Called Empathy: Eight Related but Distinct Phenomena
The Social Neuroscience of Empathy

C. Daniel Batson

The MIT Press

This chapter addresses two questions that empathy is supposed to answer and relate them to eight distinct phenomena that have been called empathy. The first is how one can know what another person is thinking and feeling and the second is what leads one person to respond with sensitivity and care to the suffering of another. The first phenomenon related to empathy is knowing someone else’s internal state, including his or her thoughts and feelings, also known as cognitive empathy. The second is adopting the posture or matching the neural responses of an observed other, or facial empathy. The third concept is coming to feel as another person feels while the fourth is intuiting or projecting oneself into another’s situation. The fifth concept, imagining how another is thinking and feeling, has been variously termed psychological empathy, projection, and perspective taking. The last three phenomenon have been described as “changing places in fancy,” projective empathy, decentering, personal distress, pity, compassion, sympathetic distress, or simply sympathy.

Keywords:   empathy, cognitive empathy, facial empathy, perspective taking, personal distress, pity, compassion, sympathetic distress, sympathy, decentering

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