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The Social Neuroscience of Empathy - MIT Press Scholarship Online
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The Social Neuroscience of Empathy

Jean Decety and William Ickes


In recent decades, empathy research has blossomed into a vibrant and multidisciplinary field of study. The social neuroscience approach to the subject is premised on the idea that studying empathy at multiple levels (biological, cognitive, and social) will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of how other people’s thoughts and feelings can affect our own thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In the chapters in this book, leading advocates of the multilevel approach view empathy from the perspectives of social, cognitive, developmental and clinical psychology, and cognitive/affective neurosci ... More

Keywords: empathy, social neuroscience, thoughts, feelings, behavior, multilevel approach, clinical psychology, cognitive/affective neuroscience, emotional contagion, social development

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780262012973
Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013 DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012973.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jean Decety, editor

William Ickes, editor

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Front Matter

I What Is Empathy?

II Social, Cognitive, and Developmental Perspectives on Empathy

2 Emotional Contagion and Empathy

Elaine Hatfield, Richard L. Rapson, and Yen-Chi L. Le

3 Being Imitated: Consequences of Nonconsciously Showing Empathy

Rick B. van Baaren, Jean Decety, Ap Dijksterhuis, Andries van de Leij, and Matthijs L. van Leeuwen

4 Empathy and Knowledge Projection

Raymond S. Nickerson, Susan F. Butler, and Michael Carlin

6 Empathic Responding: Sympathy and Personal Distress

Nancy Eisenberg, and Natalie D. Eggum

7 Empathy and Education

Norma Deitch Feshbach, and Seymour Feshbach

III Clinical Perspectives on Empathy

9 Empathy in Psychotherapy: Dialogue and Embodied Understanding

Mathias Dekeyser, Robert Elliott, and Mia Leijssen

10 Empathic Resonance: A Neuroscience Perspective

Jeanne C. Watson, and Leslie S. Greenberg

IV Evolutionary and Neuroscience Perspectives on Empathy

13 Neural and Evolutionary Perspectives on Empathy

C. Sue Carter, James Harri, and Stephen W. Porges