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EmpathyFrom Bench to Bedside$
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Jean Decety

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016612

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016612.001.0001

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Empathy and Neuroscience: A Psychoanalytic Perspective

Empathy and Neuroscience: A Psychoanalytic Perspective

(p.291) 17 Empathy and Neuroscience: A Psychoanalytic Perspective

David M. Terman

The MIT Press

This chapter focuses on the psychoanalytic process for which empathy is a defining phenomenon, and discusses the relationship between the psychoanalytic theory and the understanding of empathy. It presents similarities between psychological processes and neuronal events, along with the functional components that produce the empathic experience in humans. The mirror neuron system, which helps the observer to replicate the inner events or behavior of other people being observed, is discussed. The activation of neural mechanisms by perception of emotion responsible for emotion generation shows the importance of affect sharing. The chapter further explores the effect of isolation on the empathizer and empathizees.

Keywords:   psychoanalytic process, psychoanalytic theory, empathy, neuronal events, mirror neuron system, emotions

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