Article

Dissecting the Neural Mechanisms Mediating Empathy

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Abstract

Empathy is thought to play a key role in motivating prosocial behavior, guiding our preferences and behavioral responses, and providing the affective and motivational base for moral development. While these abilities have traditionally been examined using behavioral methods, recent work in evolutionary biology, developmental and cognitive neuroscience has begun to shed light on the neural circuitry that instantiate them. The purpose of this article is to critically examine the current knowledge in the field of affective neuroscience and provide an integrative and comprehensive view of the computational mechanisms that underlie empathy. This framework is of general interest and relevance for theory as well as for assisting future research in the domains of affective developmental neuroscience and psychopathology.

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... La señalización epigenética infantil, realizada a través del sistema de glucocorticoides y mineralocorticosdes, sería el principal mecanismo de control de la sensibilidad del eje HPA (Juruena, Baes, Menezes, & Guilherme, 2015), la integración de los circuitos límbicos y la reprogramación del funcionamiento socioemocional . En investigaciones con animales se ha encontrado que la exposición temprana y crónica a situaciones estresantes, como la separación repetida desde la madre, se asocian con una variedad de cambios epigenéticos, celulares, estructurales y fisiológicos en el hipocampo, amígdala y CPF (León & Dueñas, 2013;McCrory, De Brito, & Viding, 2010, 2011. Estas modificaciones suelen estar asociadas con alteraciones en el aprendizaje asociativo, la memoria espacial y el control de la reactividad emocional Karatoreos & McEwen, 2013;León & Dueñas, 2012;Quinn & Fanselow, 2006). ...
... La reducción en los aspectos afectivos de la empatía a través de la adolescencia puede corresponder con los reportes sobre los cambios neurales en el procesamiento empático de las señales dolorosas ajenas, donde hay un progresivo decremento de la actividad subcortical de los circuitos que procesan las señales dolorosas propias y un incremento de la actividad en los circuitos corticales que participan en la representación de los estados metales ajenos (Decety, 2011;Decety, Michalska, & Akitsuki, 2008;. Sin embargo, este modelo de desarrollo de las redes neurales implicadas en la respuesta empática no explicaría la reducción en la evaluación moral en los casos de daño intencional, tal vez los cambios en esta evaluación obedezcan a una mezcla de la reducción en la activación afectiva y los efectos de la experiencia cultural del contexto colombiano reciente en el que hay una alta exposición y normalización del dolor ajeno. ...
... Estas últimas conexiones tendrían un importante desarrollo durante la adolescencia, lo que llevaría a los adolescentes más jóvenes a tener un procesamiento empático basado en el contagio emocional, con alta angustia y activación fisiológica y a los mayores a tener un análisis socialmente más complejo basado en la comparación del estado afectivo ajeno con las experiencias afectivas propias y en el que se tienen en cuenta de forma más eficiente las intenciones y estados mentales de los diferentes agentes implicados en las escenas sociales (J. Decety, 2011;Jean Decety et al., 2008;Levy et al., 2019). ...
Thesis
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Millones de colombianos han sido expuestos a experiencias adversas durante la niñez (EAN), las cuales suelen llevar a alteraciones en el funcionamiento emocional y neurofisiológico. Sin embargo, polimorfismos como el rs53576 del receptor de oxitocina (OXTR) parecen modular estos efectos. Actualmente, no es claro cómo la interacción entre la exposición a EAN y los polimorfismos del OXTR influyen sobre el funcionamiento cerebral y emocional en adolescentes. Por lo tanto, en este proyecto se indagó sobre qué interacciones existen entre el grado de EAN, el polimorfismo rs53576 del OXTR y el funcionamiento emocional y neurofisiológico en adolescentes de un municipio colombiano. Se entrevistaron 261 adolescentes del municipio de Soacha, con edades entre los 12 y 18 años. Las EAN se evaluaron a través de la escala de eventos adversos en la niñez y el genotipo OXTR se obtuvo a partir de genotipificación del SNP rs53576. Las medidas de funcionamiento emocional se obtuvieron a través de: tarea de reconocimiento de rostros emocionales, prueba de estrés social de Trier (TSST), tarea de empatía al dolor y el reporte parental de problemas de conducta (CBCL). El funcionamiento cerebral fue analizado a través de un paradigma de potenciales relacionados a eventos (PRE) para el procesamiento de imágenes afectivas. Los principales resultados fueron: alta frecuencia de EAN, el conflicto armado influyó significativamente en el desarrollo emocional, la frecuencia genotípica del OXTR fue similar a la de otras poblaciones de América Latina y hubo un efecto conjunto de las EAN y el genotipo OXTR sobre todas las medidas de funcionamiento emocional y los componentes PRE, el cual dependió del sexo y edad. Se discuten estos resultados desde: la sensibilidad diferencial conferida por los polimorfismos del OXTR hacia las señales sociales amenazantes y protectoras; la interacción entre la señalización oxitocinérgica y las hormonas sexuales durante la adolescencia; la plasticidad en el desarrollo cerebral y emocional; las limitaciones metodologías del estudio; y las posibles implicaciones para las intervenciones psicológicas y para las investigación en las ciencias del comportamiento, la salud y las neurociencias.
... In examining the pattern of overlapping emotion and cognitive neural circuitry in moral decisionmaking, it is clear that integrative empathy pathways are involved (Decety et al., 2012). According to Decety (2011), "empathy" encompasses affective empathy, cognitive empathy, and self-regulation. While affective empathy refers to emotional sharing or arousal, cognitive empathy overlaps with ToM and refers to the ability to infer the mental states of others for improved emotion awareness and understanding. ...
... While affective empathy refers to emotional sharing or arousal, cognitive empathy overlaps with ToM and refers to the ability to infer the mental states of others for improved emotion awareness and understanding. Self-regulation enables the control of emotion, affect, and drive (Decety, 2011). In contrast to affective empathy which is present from infancy, cognitive empathy and self-regulation develop with age (Decety & Jackson, 2004;Decety & Meyer, 2008). ...
... This model proposes that empathic concern is enabled by appropriately regulated affective empathy and the mediatory role of cognitive empathy (ToM; Decety, 2011). In considering this three-pillar model of empathy within the context of moral cognition, empathic concern is coined as motivational empathy and refers to the urge to help or care. ...
Preprint
Social impairment in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been linked to Theory of Mind (ToM) deficits. However, little research has investigated the relationship between ToM and moral decision-making in children with ASD. This study compared moral decision-making and ToM between aggregate-matched ASD and neurotypical boys (n=38 per group; aged 6-12). In a third-party resource allocation task manipulating recipient merit, wealth and health, neurotypical children allocated significantly more resources to the morally deserving recipient, suggesting equitable allocation. A comparatively larger portion of the ASD group allocated equally. ToM emerged as a predictor of moral decision-making. We suggest that ToM (cognitive empathy) deficits may underly atypical moral decision-making in ASD by limiting the integration of empathic arousal (affective empathy) with moral information. Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Social Impairment, Theory of Mind (ToM), Moral Decision-Making
... In examining the pattern of overlapping emotion and cognitive neural circuitry in moral decisionmaking, it is clear that integrative empathy pathways are involved (Decety et al., 2012). According to Decety (2011), "empathy" encompasses affective empathy, cognitive empathy, and self-regulation. While affective empathy refers to emotional sharing or arousal, cognitive empathy overlaps with ToM and refers to the ability to infer the mental states of others for improved emotion awareness and understanding. ...
... While affective empathy refers to emotional sharing or arousal, cognitive empathy overlaps with ToM and refers to the ability to infer the mental states of others for improved emotion awareness and understanding. Self-regulation enables the control of emotion, affect, and drive (Decety, 2011). In contrast to affective empathy which is present from infancy, cognitive empathy and self-regulation develop with age (Decety & Jackson, 2004;Decety & Meyer, 2008). ...
... This model proposes that empathic concern is enabled by appropriately regulated affective empathy and the mediatory role of cognitive empathy (ToM; Decety, 2011). In considering this three-pillar model of empathy within the context of moral cognition, empathic concern is coined as motivational empathy and refers to the urge to help or care. ...
Article
Full-text available
Social impairment in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been linked to Theory of Mind (ToM) deficits. However, little research has investigated the relationship between ToM and moral decision-making in children with ASD. This study compared moral decision-making and ToM between aggregate-matched ASD and neurotypical boys (n = 38 per group; aged 6–12). In a third-party resource allocation task manipulating recipient merit, wealth, and health, neurotypical children allocated significantly more resources to the morally deserving recipient, suggesting equitable allocation. A comparatively larger portion of the ASD group allocated equally. ToM emerged as a predictor of moral decision-making. We suggest that ToM (cognitive empathy) deficits may underly atypical moral decision-making in ASD by limiting the integration of empathic arousal (affective empathy) with moral information.
... Une superposition complète entre les représentations de la douleur de soi-même et de la douleur de l'autre peut conduire à une réponse aversive qui consiste en une détresse émotionnelle / empathique (Decety & Grèzes, 2006). D'autre part, Decety (2011) propose qu'il puisse exister d'autres explications à l'activation de ses régions pendant des tâches d'observation de la douleur. L'empathie est un phénomène complexe à étudier et les activations neurales associées peuvent permettre de mieux décrire le traitement pour les stimuli aversifs. ...
... These findings support the evidence that shared representations of affective-motivational processing of painful stimuli may be more representative of general self-protective mechanisms of avoiding threat rather than describing the sensory characteristics of pain (Iannetti & Mouraux, 2010;. Moreover, studies on patients (mostly on psychopaths) have recorded a normal activation of the sensorimotor system, even with absence of affective empathy in these patients (Blair 2011;Decety 2011). ...
... Meanwhile, there is an ongoing debate if empathic neurobiological mechanism is represented by the MNS. Studies about psychopaths (Blair 2011;Decety 2011) and recent meta-analysis (Lindquist et al. 2012;Wager et al. 2008) challenge these theories. It is also important to consider that research on the involvement of the MNS in emotion remains recent , and further studies may better clarify if there is an effective involvement of MNS in the emotional and empathic domain. ...
Thesis
Empathy allows us to understand and react to other people feelings. Regarding empathy for pain, a witness looking at a painful situation may react to other-oriented and prosocial-altruistic behaviors or self-oriented withdrawal responses. The main aim of this thesis was to study approach/avoidance and freezing behavioral manifestations that co-occurring along with both others’ pain observation and during the anticipation of pain. In two perspective-taking tasks, we investigated the influence of the type of relationship between the witness and the target in pain. Results showed that higher pain ratings, lower reactions times (experiment 1) and greater withdrawal avoidance postural responses (experiment 2) were attributed when participants adopted their most loved person perspective. In experiment 3, we analyzed the freezing behavior in the observer’s corticospinal system while subject was observing painful stimuli in first-and third-person perspectives. Results showed the pain-specific freezing effect only pertained to the first-person perspective condition. An empathy for pain interpretation suggests empathy might represent the anticipation of painful stimulation in oneself. In experiment 4 results, we found that the freezing effect present during a painful electrical stimulation was also present in the anticipation of pain. In conclusion, our studies suggest that cognitive perspective-taking mechanisms mainly modulate the empathic response and the most loved person perspective seems to be prevalent. In addition, more basic pain-specific corticospinal modulations are mainly present in the first-person perspective and it seems to not be referred to the empathy components
... Behavioral manifestations of empathy have been observed in infants as young as three--months. 69 Affective responsiveness seems to develop before cognitive and regulatory aspects, 70 with newborns crying in response to the distressed cries of another newborn. 71 Automatic discriminatory processes mediate this affective response. ...
... 71 Automatic discriminatory processes mediate this affective response. 70 These are our gut--feelings, our immediate-almost reflexive-reactions. They are the snap judgments that categorize a stimulus as attractive or revulsive, safe or dangerous, desirable or objectionable. ...
... The primary neural circuits of affective arousal are the subcortical circuits, including the amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex. 70 There are, however, researchers that argue against the stability of affective empathy. Affective empathy, they claim, may be attributed to the mirror neuron system in humans. ...
Thesis
http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/107709/1/jcreeden.pdf
... An enhanced empathic response leads to an increased 98 tendency to care about others' well-being beyond kinship 99 and affinity, and to take altruistic actions including helping 100 and sharing [35,36]. Different paradigms for empathy 101 research consistently engage the anterior and mid-cingulate 102 cortex (MCC), medial prefrontal cortex [37][38][39]. Mean-103 while, anger triggered by injustice or other norm violations 104 against others (which should be distinguished from per-105 sonal anger at being harmed) has a huge impact on moral 106 judgment and decision-making [40][41][42]. As pointed out by 107 Haidt, moral anger generates a motivation to attack, take 108 revenge on, or humiliate perpetrators and to help victims of 109 unfair treatment [43]. ...
... Statistically 381 significant difference was indicated as follows: 382 ***P \0.001, **P \0.01, and *P \0. 05 38, P \ 0.001, g p 2 = 0.63) as well as an 398 interaction (F (4, 388) = 10.15, P \ 0.001, g p 2 = 0.10). ...
Article
People as third-party observers, without direct self-interest, may punish norm violators to maintain social norms. However, third-party judgment and the follow-up punishment might be susceptible to the way we frame (i.e., verbally describe) a norm violation. We conducted a behavioral and a neuroimaging experiment to investigate the above phenomenon, which we call the “third-party framing effect”. In these experiments, participants observed an anonymous perpetrator deciding whether to keep her/his economic benefit while exposing a victim to a risk of physical pain (described as “harming others” in one condition and “not helping others” in the other condition), then they had a chance to punish that perpetrator at their own cost. Our results showed that the participants were more willing to execute third-party punishment under the harm frame compared to the help frame, manifesting a framing effect. Self-reported anger toward perpetrators mediated the relationship between empathy toward victims and the framing effect. Meanwhile, activation of the insula mediated the relationship between mid-cingulate cortex activation and the framing effect; the functional connectivity between these regions significantly predicted the size of the framing effect. These findings shed light on the psychological and neural mechanisms of the third-party framing effect.
... Cognitive empathy (i.e. Perspective-taking) involves adopting the view point of another and attributing their thoughts and feelings (Decety, 2011;Decety and Cowell, 2015). Ta sk-based imaging studies with adolescents demonstrate activation in regions underlying the defa ult mode network (DMN; i.e. medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex) and the frontoparietal network (FPN; i.e. the inferior parietal lobule and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices) when asked to take the perspective of others (perspective-taking) while viewing videos describing emotional events (Kral et al., 2017), fa cial emotions (D'Argembeau et al., 2007), or cartoon vignettes (Ga llagher et al., 2000). ...
... Affective empathy involves sharing another's emotional experience which can involve the additional component empathic concern, or empathic feelings of concern for their emotional wellbeing (Decety, 2011;Decety and Cowell, 2015). Regions of the salience network (SAL; e.g. ...
Article
Empathy, the capacity to understand and share others’ emotions, can occur through cognitive and affective components. These components are different conceptually, behaviorally, and in the brain. Neuroimaging task-based research in adolescents and adults document that cognitive empathy associates with the default mode and frontoparietal networks, whereas regions of the salience network underlie affective empathy. However, cognitive empathy is slower to mature than affective empathy and the extant literature reveals considerable developmental differences between adolescent and adult brains within and between these three networks. We extend previous work by examining empathy’s association with functional connectivity within and between these networks in adolescents. Participants (n=84, aged 13-17; 46.4% female) underwent resting state fMRI and completed self-report measures (Interpersonal Reactivity Index) for empathy as part of a larger Nathan-Kline Institute study. Regression analyses revealed adolescents reporting higher cognitive empathy had higher within DMN connectivity. Post hoc analysis revealed cognitive empathy’s association within DMN connectivity is independent of affective empathy or empathy in general; and this association is driven by positive pairwise connections between the bilateral angular gyri and medial prefrontal cortex. These results suggest introspective cognitive processes related to the DMN are specifically important for cognitive empathy in adolescence.
... The capacity to affectively share the emotions of another person is one of the fundamental building blocks of collective bonds and human societies (Davis, 1996). It is essential for successful social-cognitive ability, symbolic development, and behaviour, facilitating social understanding and communication (e.g., see Decety, 2011). Interestingly, empathy had became realized through an aesthetic theory (Lipps, 1903), although empathy is as old as humanity, enabling us to enter in to the worlds and feelings of others in rich and full-bodied ways that can reveal their intentionality/subjectivity (Batson, 2009). ...
... Overly, it appears that although empathy can be automatic (e.g., emotion resonance/contagion), by no means is it always automatic (Zaki, 2014). Instead, it is a situated phenomenon (e.g., Decety, 2011, Lamm et al., 2011. As such, it could vary according to numerous encounters (one of which could be this of the aesthetic), observer's situations, relationships (in-group out-group membership, distance and reciprocity in the roles) and could implicate a series of distancing positions (transitory states that the degree of differentiation between the self and the other varies; e.g., from contagious reactivity (that trigger approach or avoidance mechanisms) to experience sharing to mentalizing, leading to meta-emotions (empathy 'for', as a medium distance 'witnessing' meta-emotion or "catharsis"; see Stamatopoulou, 2007). ...
Chapter
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The aim of this theoretical article that is supported by an illustrative research case of an ongoing project, is the investigation of the experience of awe in relation to the empathic "feeling into" and the ''being moved" phenomenological quality of aesthetic experience, as instantiated in the specific case of religious icons-paintings. This approach focuses on an extensive exploration of the perceivers' experience of religious icons in relation to any emergent aesthetic, cultural, spiritual and religious issues.
... For instance, by improving a virtual character's anthropomorphism, a higher affective reaction may be elicited towards its pain, which may be desirable in order to train healthcare professionals in emotional regulation. Emotion regulation is one of the three components of empathy, a critical skill in medical care, which has been defined as the ability to share and understand others' emotion or thinking, and feel motivated to help 16 . Empathy is also underlaid by two other main processes [17][18][19][20][21] : (1) perspective-taking, which refers to explicit reasoning about others' mental states; and (2) an automatic and emotional component called affective resonance, which allows an individual to represent what the other might feel based on one's own, similar, affective experiences. ...
... Indeed, it may cover a broad spectrum of mental states and aspects of a behaviour 22 . Importantly, empathy would provoke an affective (or emotional) reaction, i.e. a sense of mixed emotions that generally accompanies the way one perceives another's emotion, e.g., distress, sympathy or compassion when seeing pain in others 16,[25][26][27] . The above-mentioned mechanism of emotional regulation is then paramount to contain one's own emotional reaction to avoid being overwhelmed by others' emotions 18,28 . ...
Article
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Virtual reality platforms producing interactive and highly realistic characters are being used more and more as a research tool in social and affective neuroscience to better capture both the dynamics of emotion communication and the unintentional and automatic nature of emotional processes. While idle motion (i.e., non-communicative movements) is commonly used to create behavioural realism, its use to enhance the perception of emotion expressed by a virtual character is critically lacking. This study examined the influence of naturalistic (i.e., based on human motion capture) idle motion on two aspects (the perception of other’s pain and affective reaction) of an empathic response towards pain expressed by a virtual character. In two experiments, 32 and 34 healthy young adults were presented video clips of a virtual character displaying a facial expression of pain while its body was either static (still condition) or animated with natural postural oscillations (idle condition). The participants in Experiment 1 rated the facial pain expression of the virtual human as more intense, and those in Experiment 2 reported being more touched by its pain expression in the idle condition compared to the still condition, indicating a greater empathic response towards the virtual human’s pain in the presence of natural postural oscillations. These findings are discussed in relation to the models of empathy and biological motion processing. Future investigations will help determine to what extent such naturalistic idle motion could be a key ingredient in enhancing the anthropomorphism of a virtual human and making its emotion appear more genuine.
... The bottomup processing is mediated by the amygdala, hypothalamus, and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) for the affective arousal; topdown processing is associated with the anterior insula (AI), medial prefrontal cortex mPFC, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) for emotion awareness, and OFC, mPFC, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) for emotion regulation, control of emotion and motivation. Both processing models are connected and influenced by the ASN and the endocrine system (Decety, 2011). ...
... MRI scans and subsequent statistical analysis revealed that males convicted of violent crimes had large deficits in the orbitofrontal/ventromedial prefrontal cortex, anterior temporal cortex, insula, medial prefrontal/anterior cingulate and precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex compared to males convicted of non-homicidal and minimally violent crimes. Because these regions have been notably implicated in empathy and general emotional processing (Decety, 2011), these findings provide insight into how abnormalities in regions for social cognition may distinguish the brains of those who commit homicide from those who commit other types of crimes. ...
Article
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Empathy is a fundamental construct that allows individuals to perceive and understand the cognitive and emotional state of others. Empathy is not only a psychological and sociological concept; it also heavily impacts our daily lives by affecting our decisions and actions. Empathy is connected to and involves specific parts of the brain which, if damaged or of reduced volume, can lead to actions that are morally unjust, aggressive, or simply denoting a lack of understanding and sensitivity. The literature affirms that the low level of empathy, guilt, embarrassment, and moral reasoning displayed by violent and psychopathic criminals is strongly associated with empathy-linked brain regions that are smaller in size or less developed. The aim of this review is to show empirical data over the last 5 years on the connection between empathy and neuroscience among violent and psychopathic offenders, reflecting on future research on the topic.
... Respectively described as "I feel what you feel" and "I understand what you feel", affective empathy and cognitive empathy rely on two distinctive neural mechanisms (Shamay-Tsoory et al., 2009). The former is a state of emotion that resonates with others and involves human primitive and automatic emotional functions, whereas the latter is a deliberate and rational perspective-taking process that engages advanced cognitive functions (Banakou et al., 2013;Bošnjaković and Radionov, 2018;Davis et al., 1996;Decety, 2011;Eres, 2016;Shamay-Tsoory et al., 2009). Moreover, some neuroscience studies have suggested that, based on brain activity, more types of empathy can be defined, such as somatic empathy, compassionate empathy, and emotion regulation (Bernhardt and Singer, 2012;Decety, 2011;Eres, 2016;Powell and Roberts, 2017;Price and Dambha-Miller, 2019;Yagil, 2015). ...
... The former is a state of emotion that resonates with others and involves human primitive and automatic emotional functions, whereas the latter is a deliberate and rational perspective-taking process that engages advanced cognitive functions (Banakou et al., 2013;Bošnjaković and Radionov, 2018;Davis et al., 1996;Decety, 2011;Eres, 2016;Shamay-Tsoory et al., 2009). Moreover, some neuroscience studies have suggested that, based on brain activity, more types of empathy can be defined, such as somatic empathy, compassionate empathy, and emotion regulation (Bernhardt and Singer, 2012;Decety, 2011;Eres, 2016;Powell and Roberts, 2017;Price and Dambha-Miller, 2019;Yagil, 2015). However, affective empathy and cognitive empathy are still central to the research on this phenomenon. ...
Article
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The extent to which designers can understand users often determines the quality of design outcomes. A deep understanding of users allows the designers to focus on the right problem and make optimal design decisions, which encouraged designers to empathize with users. However, the current imagination-based empathizing strategy appears to be too susceptible to their previous experience and knowledge, which has been questioned concerning effectiveness and accuracy. On the other hand, Virtual Reality (VR) technology provides an opportunity for designers to gain experience-driven empathy by immersing them in a virtual environment that mimics the users' surroundings as if they are seeing the world from users' eyes. While abundant studies covered empathy VR and empathy for design, limited attention has been paid to the chance of bringing VR, empathy, and design research together. Addressing this gap, this study explored literature across domains, identified major concerns about this approach, synthesized the evidence, and discussed the feasibility and validity of the VR-based empathic design research approach.
... Similarly, neuroscientific studies have shown that there are distinct brain pathways in the empathic response. In fact, it appears that different parts of the brain are activated depending on cognitive versus affective cues (Decety 2011cited in Halpern 2014. ...
Article
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As empathy gains importance within academia, we propose this review as an attempt to bring clarity upon the diverse and widely debated definitions and conceptions of empathy within the medical field. In this paper, we first evaluate the limits of the Western mainstream medical culture and discuss the origins of phenomena such as dehumanization and detached concern as well as their impacts on patient care. We then pass on to a structured overview of the debate surrounding the notion of clinical empathy and its taxonomy in the medical setting. In particular, we present the dichotomous conception of clinical empathy that is articulated in the debate around cognitive empathy and affective empathy . We thus consider the negative impacts that this categorization brings about. Finally, we advocate for a more encompassing, holistic conception of clinical empathy; one that gives value to a genuine interest in welcoming, acknowledging and responding to the emotions of those suffering. Following this line of reasoning, we advance the notion of ‘empathic concern’, a re-conceptualization of clinical empathy that finds its source in Halpern in Med Health Care Philos (2014) 17:301–311 engaged curiosity . We ultimately advance Narrative Medicine as an approach to introduce, teach and promote such an attitude among medical trainees and practitioners.
... I define affective resonance as "the capacity to share or become affectively aroused by others" emotions"[40,41]. ...
Article
This article describes the mereological constitution of contents in the intentional acts of people affected by borderline personality disorder (BPD) or emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) in order to shed light on the origin of the emotional instability characterizing this disorder. The article will first discuss the emotional cycle of people affected by this disorder; second, it will focus on the mereological aspect of the meaning-making 1 experience in the intentional act; third, it will show how this meaning-making experience usually interacts with axiological 2 qualities that affect the continuity of their sense of reality. From the investigation, it emerges that the mereological constitution of contents occurs in a way that is disruptive of the continuity of BPD/EUPDs’ interaffective lifeworld as it generates intersubjective disturbances on the axiological, logical, and ontological levels. On this basis, as a concluding suggestion, the paper will propose an alternative way to approach the problem, soothe the disturbance, and encourage integration.
... Empathy can be considered as an 'umbrella' term that encompasses all processes that emerge to allow an observer to understand the other's state by activating their own neural and mental representations of that state. In this view, empathy is a multicom-ponent process that encompasses cognitive processes such as mentalizing or emotional regulation and affective processes such as empathic concern or emotional detection (Decety, 2011;Zaki and Ochsner, 2012;de Waal and Preston, 2017;Tousignant et al., 2017). Taking into account the nature of sub-processes that are involved in the empathic response, empathy can be addressed as a personalized phenomenon which can be altered or regulated. ...
Article
In a therapeutic environment a proper regulation of the empathic response strengthens the patient-therapist relationship. Thus, it is important that psychotherapists constantly regulate their own perspective and emotions to better understand the other’s affective state. We compared the empathic abilities of a group of 52 psychotherapists with a group of 92 non-psychotherapists and found psychometric differences. Psychotherapists showed greater scores in Fantasy and Perspective Taking, both cognitive empathy constructs, and lower scores in the use of expressive suppression, an emotional regulation strategy that hampers the empathic response, suggesting that psychotherapists exert top-down processes that influence their empathic response. In addition, the expected sex differences in empathic concern and expressive suppression were only present in the non-psychotherapist group. To see if such psychometric differences were related to a distinctive functional organization of brain networks, we contrasted the resting state functional connectivity of empathy-related brain regions between a group of 18 experienced psychotherapists and a group of 18 non-psychotherapists. Psychotherapists showed greater functional connectivity between the left anterior insula and the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, and less connectivity between rostral anterior cingulate cortex and the orbito prefrontal cortex. Both associations correlated with Perspective Taking scores. Considering that the psychometric differences between groups were in the cognitive domain and that the functional connectivity associations involve areas related to cognitive regulation processes, these results suggest a relationship between the functional brain organization of psychotherapists and the cognitive regulation of their empathic response.
... Changes in mental states and behaviour may be explained by differential binding of endogenous (changing concentrations) as well as exogenous sex steroids (due to different binding properties) to receptor sites of brain regions involved in socio-emotional processing (frontal cortex and limbic areas) [10,63]. But individual difference in the circulating and pharmacologically-manipulated levels of testosterone are often weak predictors of individual differences in social behaviours [3,6,26]. Previous studies linked testosterone with competitive, aggressive, strategic, and dominance behaviours. ...
Article
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Although there is evidence that testosterone has deteriorating effects on cognitive and affective empathy, whether testosterone administration influences both routes to understanding others has not yet been simultaneously investigated. We conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) pharmacological study using a within-subjects, randomized placebo-controlled double-blind crossover design to examine the effects of 100 mg transdermal testosterone administration on brain activation during a task that examines affective and cognitive empathy simultaneously in a sample of 23 healthy right-handed adult men. Relative to placebo, testosterone did not alter affective or cognitive empathy functional brain networks. Instead, the task yielded activation in the canonical networks associated with both types of empathy. Affective empathy yielded activation in the inferior and middle frontal gyri, inferior temporal gyri, and the cingulate cortex. Cognitive empathy was associated with activation of the temporoparietal junction, medial prefrontal cortex, middle and inferior temporal gyri, and temporal pole. Behaviourally, testosterone administration decreased error rates and increased participants’ confidence in their responses regardless of response accuracy. Independent of testosterone administration, participants reported higher affective responses during emotionally negative scenarios. Even though our results provide further evidence that testosterone administration in healthy men does not alter brain activity underlying cognitive and affective empathy, testosterone administration does influence the empathic concern and hence socio-cognitive processes. The reproducibility and variability of the current and previous findings should nevertheless be addressed in upcoming studies.
... Findings demonstrate the long-term effects of maternal caregiving in humans, similar to their role in other mammals, particularly in tuning core regions implicated in salience detection, simulation, and interoception that sustain empathy and human attachment. signal systems, and partake in the joys and sorrows of others (10). Yet, while empathy is a core feature of human sociality that is tuned in mammals by patterns of parental care, the relational precursors of the neural empathic response have not been fully explored in human studies. ...
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Mammalian young are born with immature brain and rely on the mother’s body and caregiving behavior for maturation of neurobiological systems that sustain adult sociality. While research in animal models indicated the long-term effects of maternal contact and caregiving on the adult brain, little is known about the effects of maternal–newborn contact and parenting behavior on social brain functioning in human adults. We followed human neonates, including premature infants who initially lacked or received maternal–newborn skin-to-skin contact and full-term controls, from birth to adulthood, repeatedly observing mother–child social synchrony at key developmental nodes. We tested the brain basis of affect-specific empathy in young adulthood and utilized multivariate techniques to distinguish brain regions sensitive to others’ distinct emotions from those globally activated by the empathy task. The amygdala, insula, temporal pole (TP), and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) showed high sensitivity to others’ distinct emotions. Provision of maternal–newborn contact enhanced social synchrony across development from infancy and up until adulthood. The experience of synchrony, in turn, predicted the brain’s sensitivity to emotion-specific empathy in the amygdala and insula, core structures of the social brain. Social synchrony linked with greater empathic understanding in adolescence, which was longitudinally associated with higher neural sensitivity to emotion-specific empathy in TP and VMPFC. Findings demonstrate the centrality of synchronous caregiving, by which infants practice the detection and sharing of others’ affective states, for tuning the human social brain, particularly in regions implicated in salience detection, interoception, and mentalization that underpin affect sharing and human attachment.
... While empathy is an important prerequisite of altruism, it is inhibited in situations of conflict (Batson, 1991). Indeed, there is growing evidence that people routinely regulate their empathic response (Decety, 2011;Feldman et al. 2020). Yet, given the right conditions, such as a needy and deserving individual, empathy facilitates strong feelings of compassion, defined as an emotion "that arises in witnessing another's suffering and that motivates a subsequent desire to help" (Goetz, Keltner, & Simon-Thomas, 2010, p. 351). 1 Social psychologists have long realized that empathy could be triggered in perspective-taking experiments seeking to reduce prejudice. ...
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Online perspective-taking experiments have demonstrated great potential in reducing prejudice towards disadvantaged groups such as refugees or Roma. These experiments trigger the psychological process of empathy and evoke feelings of compassion. Meanwhile, a growing literature argues that compassion towards the poor is an important predictor of support for social welfare. This paper bridges these two literatures and predicts that perspective-taking with the poor could increase support for welfare assistance. This hypothesis is tested in a pre-registered experiment conducted on a large and diverse online sample of US citizens (N = 3,431). Our results suggest that participants engaged with the perspective-taking exercise, wrote essays expressing strong emotions, but perspective-taking had no meaningful causal effect on general attitudes towards social welfare. We can confidently rule out effects exceeding 2 points on a 100-point scale. These results indicate that perspective-taking with a poor, deserving individual does not necessarily reduce stereotypes about the poor in general; nor does it change views towards redistributive policies.
... Converging evidence from functional neuroimaging and lesion studies indicate that the temporoparietal junction (TPJ), which is situated at the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) are essential for detecting and representing mental states of others, and play an important role in cognitive empathy and moral cognition Gallagher and Frith, 2003;Lamm et al., 2007;Moll et al., 2007;Saxe et al., 2004;Silani et al., 2013;Yoder and Decety, 2014a). In healthy participants, viewing others in pain reliably elicits response in dorsal anterior cingulate (dACC) and anterior insula (aINS; Decety et al., 2013a;Fallon et al., 2020;Lamm et al., 2011), core nodes of the salience network which integrate multiple stimuli to coordinate cortical and subcortical resources to respond to motivationally relevant stimuli (Decety, 2011;Harsay et al., 2012;Shackman et al., 2011;Yoder and Decety, 2018). ...
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Much of social cognition requires making inferences about the mental and emotional states of others. Moreover, understanding the emotions of others is an important foundation for moral decision-making. Psychopathy is associated with both aberrant emotional understanding and atypical hemodynamic responses when viewing and evaluating morally laden social interactions. In the present functional MRI study, female inmates (N=107) were asked to evaluate the likely emotional state of either the recipient or the initiator of harmful or helpful interactions. Psychopathy was assessed with the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). PCL-R scores were not associated with differences in confidence or accuracy ratings. However, psychopathy scores were significantly related to increased hemodynamic response in right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex when viewing harmful interactions and decreased functional connectivity from right amygdala to inferior parietal and insula, and from temporal parietal junction to dorsomedial prefrontal cortex. Overall, this work indicates that in females, psychopathy is associated with normal behavioral accuracy and confidence but alterations in neural network activity during moral decision-making.
... The cognitive component of empathy involves perceiving and reasoning others' intentions, thoughts, or beliefs, while the emotional component of empathy involves other-oriented emotional responses originating from the perception of another people's emotional state. Empathy has been considered as the emotional and motivational basis for moral development [19]. ...
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Mindfulness plays an important role in promoting prosocial behavior and well-being. With the spread of Internet usage, people’s online prosocial behavior (OPB) has garnered great attention. Based on the link between online and offline behaviors, we predict that mindfulness can also facilitate OPB. We examined the association of mindfulness and OPB and the mediating effect of empathy. A total of 674 Chinese undergraduate students completed self-report measures of these constructs. The results showed that different dimensions of mindfulness predicted empathy, which in turn predicted OPB. Perspective taking was the main mediator in the mindfulness-OPB link. Mindfulness improves receptiveness to others’ needs and feelings, thereby enhancing the willingness to help them, even in none-face-to-face situations.
... One idea, which we refer to as the "enhanced emotional discernment hypothesis," is that better ability to feel bodily reactions translates to having a richer emotional experience. In turn, richer emotional experience may facilitate greater understanding of others' emotions, and empathy -the process of understanding, sharing, and/or responding to others' emotions (Decety, 2011;Zaki, 2014). Such empathic understanding and emotion sharing should then facilitate social connection. ...
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Interoception-the process of sensing bodily signals-has gained much interest in recent years, due to its role in physical and mental well-being. Here, we focus on the role of interoception in social connection, which is a relatively new and growing research area. Studies in this area suggest that interoception may help in appraising physiological signals in social situations, but also that (challenging) social situations may reduce interoceptive processing by shifting attention from internally-to externally-focused. We discuss potential mechanisms for the influence of interoception on social connection and highlight that flexibility in engaging interoception in social situations may be particularly important. We end with a discussion of loneliness-an extreme case of poor social connection, which is associated with physiological decline and increased mortality risk, and propose that interoceptive dysregulation is involved. We suggest that interventions aimed to improve interoceptive abilities, such as mindfulness-based meditation practices, may be key for alleviating loneliness and improving social connection.
... In fact, empirical evidence indicates that emotional contagion is not necessarily associated with more competent understanding and perspective-taking (Belacchi & Farina, 2012). Such findings support the notion that, as children's cognitive abilities evolve, empathy might be to a larger extent controlled by top-down processes involving awareness and understanding of other's emotions, which seem to be controlled by different neural circuitry than those involved in bottom-up processes associated with emotional contagion (Decety, 2010(Decety, , 2011. Hence, for the purposes of the current study, a similar conceptualization to that proposed by Reid and colleagues (2013) is put forward in which empathy is viewed as a perspective-taking skill with multiple components (i.e., affective, cognitive, and behavioral). ...
... Considering that individuals with high autistic traits and those with ASD exhibit similar behaviors in several domains (Grinter et al., 2009;Liew et al., 2015), this finding could help expand the understanding for the abnormalities in emotional empathy as observed in the ASD population. Moreover, some theories suggest that empathy involves both bottom-up processes that are automatically elicited by the mere perception of others' emotional states and top-down processes that allow volitional modulation (Decety, 2011). Future studies can investigate whether the bottom-up (e.g., stimulus reality) or top-down (e.g., attention) processes of empathy are disrupted among individuals with ASD or high autistic traits. ...
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Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by reduced pain empathy—a process that is grounded in first-hand pain perception. Because autistic traits are continuously distributed in the general population, we hypothesized that first-hand pain sensitivity would mediate the link between autistic traits and pain empathy. After controlling for alexithymia, higher autistic traits were associated with lower cognitive and emotional empathy in response to others’ pain, as well as lower sensitivity to cold and heat pain (higher cold pain tolerance and lower laser heat pain-intensity ratings). Importantly, pain sensitivity fully mediated the link between autistic traits and pain empathy. These findings highlight the role of atypical first-hand pain sensitivity in the lack of pain empathy observed in people with high autistic traits or ASD.
... Cognitive empathy is defined by social neuroscientists as a thought process that includes the ability of heeding the perspectives of others, understanding their emotional state, separating the feelings of others from their own, and using this acquired knowledge as a guide in interpersonal behavior. Affective empathy is defined as an automatic processing operation initiated by perceived social cues, which enables the sharing of emotional responses of the observed individuals (5,6). It is believed that optimal and appropriate empathy capacity is achieved through the interaction between these coordinated processes. ...
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Introduction: The Questionnaire Cognitive and Affective Empathy (QCAE) scale is a tool that is widely used because of its multi-dimensional assessment of ability for empathy and is currently available in many languages. The aim of the current study was to examine the psychometric properties of the Turkish version of QCAE, which evaluates cognitive and emotional empathy with its multi-dimensional structure, and to bring it into the Turkish. Methods: The study was carried out in a Turkish population of 412 healthy volunteers. Internal consistency, confirmatory factor analyses and gender comparisons of the Turkish version of the scale were performed. Results: The Turkish version of QCAE had good construct validity and reliability for the five-correlated factors model (i. e., Emotion Contagion, Proximal Responsivity, Peripheral Responsivity, Perspective Taking and Online Simulation). Temporal reliability was high with a two week test-retest intra-correlation coefficient range of 0.69-0.79. A total of 3 models were tested with confirmatory factor analyses, including the models of the original investigation. Cognitive-Affective distinction was not supported by the pattern of correlations between the factors. Conclusion: Our results support that it is appropriate to compute and interpret the 5 sub-dimensions of the Turkish version of QCAE separately and totally, but the limitations in its use in the Cognitive Empathy and Affective Empathy sub-dimensions should be heeded.
... De acuerdo con Duan y Hill (1996), la empatía puede ser vista desde tres perspectivas teóricas: (a) un rasgo de la personalidad o habilidad, (b) una secuencia de experiencias y (c) una situación específica de estados cognitivos-afectivos, que es la más influyente (Blair, 2005;Innamorati, Ebisch, Gallese y Saggino, 2019;Sugarman, Nemirrof y Greenson, 2001;Vaish, Carpenter y Tomasello, 2009), dado que existen diversos estudios en los que la estruc-tura cognitivo-afectiva forma parte de algunos test (Vachon et al., 2014). Así, lo afectivo involucra respuestas emocionales respecto a la situación con un otro (Cohen y Strayer, 1996;Decety, 2011;Eisenberg y Fabes, 1990;Eisenberg, Fabes y Spinrad, 2006;Zaki, 2014) y lo cognitivo hace referencia a la comprensión emocional de otra persona, a través de asociaciones simples (Cox et al., 2011;Hoffman, 1977;Schnell, Bluschke, Konradt y Walter, 2011). Además, un estudio de revisión conceptual demuestra que se debe evitar el uso de términos generales y es mejor referirse a la empatía con términos específicos como "proceso empático", "disposición empática" (Bošnjaković y Radionov, 2018). ...
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Resumen La empatía es conceptualizada como la conciencia de las emociones y cogniciones de los demás y resulta importante en el contexto escolar para el favorecimiento de la convivencia y prevención de conductas agresivas. En ese sentido, el presente estudio tiene como objetivo examinar las evidencias de validez, fiabilidad e invarianza factorial de una escala breve de empatía básica (BES) en niños peruanos. Por ende, participaron 838 niños y niñas entre 8 y 12 años de edad (M = 9.95; DE = 1.13) de seis instituciones educativas, algunos colegios fueron utilizados para el análisis exploratorio y otros para confirmar. Se administró la BES que fue adaptada para niños (BES-I). Respecto al análisis de datos, se efectuó un análisis facto-rial exploratorio (AFE) y confirmatorio (AFC), además del análisis de invarianza factorial, para finalmente examinar la fiabilidad mediante el coeficiente omega (ω). Los resultados del AFE sugieren una medida bidimensional oblicua (cognitivo y afectivo). Del mismo modo, el AFC reafirmó estos resultados por presentar buenas bondades de ajuste (CFI ≥ .97, RMSEA ≤ .04); estos hallazgos son coherentes con los postulados teóricos que sugieren que la empatía es un constructo compuesto por factores espe-cíficos y no por un solo factor. La invarianza factorial de acuerdo con el sexo demostró que la BES-I mide lo mismo en niños y niñas y la fiabilidad obtenida mediante el coeficiente ω fue superior a .65, lo cual indica que es acep-table. Se concluye que la BES-I es un instru-mento breve que puede resultar valioso en la comprensión de la empatía infantil en futuras investigaciones.
... Cognitive empathy (i.e. perspective taking) is adopting another's point of view to understand their thoughts and feelings, whereas affective empathy is sharing of another's affective state, which may include empathic concern, or the concern for their emotional wellbeing [13,14]. Empathy impairments are present in adults and adolescents with depression; but, where adults mainly show impairments in cognitive empathy [for meta-analysis see : 15], adolescents show potentially complex impairments in both cognitive and affective empathy with different studies showing linear and non-linear associations as well as sex effects [16][17][18]. ...
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Depression amongst adolescents is a prevalent disorder consisting of heterogeneous emotional and functional symptoms—often involving impairments in social domains such as empathy. Cognitive and affective components of empathy as well as their associated neural networks (default mode network for cognitive empathy and salience network for affective empathy) are affected by depression. Depression commonly onsets during adolescence, a critical period for brain development underlying empathy. However, the available research in this area conceptualizes depression as a homogenous construct, and thereby miss to represent the full spectrum of symptoms. The present study aims to extend previous literature by testing whether cognitive and affective empathy indirectly account for associations between brain network connectivity and heterogeneous depression symptoms in adolescents. Heterogeneous functional and emotional symptoms of depression were measured using the child depression inventory. Our results indicate that cognitive empathy mediates the association between default mode network functional connectivity and emotional symptoms of depression. More specifically, that adolescents with a stronger positive association between the default mode network and cognitive empathy show lower emotional depression symptoms. This finding highlights the importance of cognitive empathy in the relationship between brain function and depression symptoms, which may be an important consideration for existing models of depression in adolescents.
... In the present study, the participants' task was to discriminate between happy and fearful expressions such that RT measures reflected recognition rather than detection of the emotional expression. The ability to perceive one's own bodily signals has been shown to lead to enhanced emotional discernment in social processing by promoting empathic abilities as well as emotional expressions [68][69][70]. Against this backdrop, we take the discrimination advantage of higher IS in our sample to be particularly evident for those stimuli that are especially difficult to be unequivocally discriminated, that is, fearful in comparison to happy faces and emotional expressions of low vs. high intensity. ...
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Emotional sensations and inferring another’s emotional states have been suggested to depend on predictive models of the causes of bodily sensations, so-called interoceptive inferences. In this framework, higher sensibility for interoceptive changes (IS) reflects higher precision of interoceptive signals. The present study examined the link between IS and emotion recognition, testing whether individuals with higher IS recognize others’ emotions more easily and are more sensitive to learn from biased probabilities of emotional expressions. We recorded skin conductance responses (SCRs) from forty-six healthy volunteers performing a speeded-response task, which required them to indicate whether a neutral facial expression dynamically turned into a happy or fearful expression. Moreover, varying probabilities of emotional expressions by their block-wise base rate aimed to generate a bias for the more frequently encountered emotion. As a result, we found that individuals with higher IS showed lower thresholds for emotion recognition, reflected in decreased reaction times for emotional expressions especially of high intensity. Moreover, individuals with increased IS benefited more from a biased probability of an emotion, reflected in decreased reaction times for expected emotions. Lastly, weak evidence supporting a differential modulation of SCR by IS as a function of varying probabilities was found. Our results indicate that higher interoceptive sensibility facilitates the recognition of emotional changes and is accompanied by a more precise adaptation to emotion probabilities.
... The primacy of somatic empathy in understanding gender differences may in part be understood within the context of evolutionary theory. Empathy has been viewed as having its roots in evolutionary processes (de Waal, 2008), and is argued to be predicated on basic neurophysiological processes (Decety, 2011). One such process, oxytocin, enhances empathy (Hurlemann et al., 2010), and it has been argued that differential evolution of brain mechanisms subserving the oxytocin system has shaped sex differences in social behavior (Caldwell, 2018). ...
Article
The Cognitive, Affective and Somatic Empathy Scales (CASES) assess three forms of empathy, each with subscales for positive and negative empathy. The present study extends this child instrument to adults and examines its factor structure and construct validity. A secondary aim is to investigate the under-researched area of positive empathy. Community samples totaling 2604 adults completed the CASES for adults, together with scales assessing construct validity. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the three-factor cognitive-affective-somatic model and a two-factor positive-negative empathy model. Findings were replicated in a second independent sample. Internal reliabilities ranged from 0.80 to 0.92. Individuals with higher psychopathy and stimulation-seeking scores were less impaired in their empathic reactions to positive relative to negative valence events, suggesting that they are relatively capable of responding emotionally to rewarding events. Somatic empathy was most strongly associated with pleasure in affective touch and with female > male gender differences in empathy. While proactive aggression was associated with reduced cognitive and affective empathy, reactive aggression was associated with increased empathy. Findings provide initial support for the utility of CASES for assessing different forms of empathy and suggest that the balance between positive and negative empathy could provide new insights into psychological traits.
... In general, BCP 4 is activated when the other, who depends on help, is seen as belonging to the same group of individuals (cf. Decety, 2011), which increases the chance of establishing a reciprocal relationship. This, however, if this other is not perceived, at a given moment, as a rival, since such perception would activate some of the branches of BCP 3, as I said. ...
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The goal of this article is to develop a theory about the evaluation process in order to offer a perspective that is potentially capable of parsimoniously explaining a series of phenomena. I argue that not only is categorical thinking shared by humans and other animals, but also certain types of categorization (“what is something?”; “what end to seek?”; “by what means?”; “was there success in accomplishing the end?”), which I understand to be aligned in a mat of categorizations, constituting what I call the basic evaluation process. I hypothesize that within this evaluation process there are five options for basic categorizations pathways (BCP), namely: “identification of patterns in the novelty”; “acquisition of the benefit”, “promotion of the good of the other”; “elimination of the threat”; and “escape the threat”. Thus, the basic evaluation process would follow a certain path depending on the type of categorization “what is something?” performed (“a novelty”, “a benefit”, “an ally (or potential ally) in difficulty”, “a threat that can be eliminated”, or “a threat that cannot be eliminated”). Finally, I defend the idea that if the mental architecture of humans is composed of ancestral structures such as BCPs, it is then possible to locate BCP as being at the root of innumerable subjective phenomena of our species.
... Similar phenomena can be observed in many non-human animal species as well 42 . According to the model proposed by Decety et al. 43,44 , affective arousal is an important element that contributes to the experience of empathy, mediated by the amygdala, the hypothalamus, and the orbitofrontal cortex. Consistent with such a view, some researchers even used the degree of arousal as an implicit index of empathy 45 . ...
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Psychological and physiological evidence has demonstrated that the underlying mechanisms for empathy and for autobiographical memories were related to a great extent. However, whether the facilitative effect of empathy on memory also applied to misinformation was unknown. To test this, we used a misinformation paradigm on a sample of 51 participants aged 20–27. The participants viewed videos that evoked different degrees of empathy, and then were fed misleading information. The participants’ susceptibility to misleading information was lower for the videos that provoked a high degree of empathy compared to the videos that provoked a low degree of empathy. Based on our data, we conclude that empathy can prevent people from being misled by false information.
... Although related, CU traits encompass broader affective impairments beyond deficits in cognitive or affective empathy. Cognitive empathy describes the ability to adopt another's point of view to understand their thoughts and feelings; whereas affective empathy involves sharing another's emotional experience, which can involve empathic concern or feelings of concern for their emotional wellbeing (Decety, 2011;Decety and Cowell, 2015). The lack of empathy associated with CU traits is thought to account for the callous harm of others and antisocial behavior; however, these constructs are multifaceted and are not synonymous (Rijnders, Terburg, Bos, Kempes, and van Honk, 2021). ...
Article
Callous-unemotional (CU) traits in adolescents are a dimensional construct involving a symptom subset of empathy impairments amongst broader affective deficits. Higher CU trait scores associate with less cognitive and affective empathy; and brain regions linked with cognitive and affective empathy show aberrant function in those with CU traits. How CU traits impact the relationship between brain function and both cognitive and affective empathy in adolescents is less clear. Here we examine how functional properties of networks that support cognitive and affective empathy is moderated by CU traits. Eighty-four adolescents underwent resting-state fMRI scanning and completed self-reports for empathy (Interpersonal Reactivity Index) and CU traits (Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits). Analysis revealed that CU traits moderate the association between affective empathy and connectivity between the default mode-frontoparietal networks. Weaker between default mode-frontoparietal anticorrelation negatively associated with affective empathy at low to moderate CU traits. Those highest in CU traits had the lowest affective empathy; and negative associations for those highest in CU traits were insignificant as default mode-frontoparietal anticorrelation weakened. Our results indicate that functional properties of networks that support affective empathy is different at varying levels of CU traits. This novel finding demonstrates that CU traits presence changes the relationship between the brain and empathy.
... From emerging neuroscientific research (e.g. Decety, 2011), two specific types of emotional ambiguity processes can be identified. First, there are affective states that draw our attention by default. ...
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In the coming years, the role of the confidential counselor is expected to be institutionalized and embedded within professional service firms in the Netherlands. However, the affective component of that implementation process has neither received the academic nor the practical attention it deserves. That is, since the Dutch government expects professional service firms to define their own methods together with their workforce, its success or failure may well depend on the sense-making processes with those already shaping the confidential counselor role. Therefore, based on Ybema’s (2018) ethnographic four relational sense-making fields and Ashkanasy’s (2003) conceptualizations of emotions in the workplace, a multi-level model on managing psycho-social ambiguity with professionals has been formulated. Four informal roles of confidential counselors have been found: the confidential counselor as an emotional container, mediator, integrator, and transformer. The professionalization of these four emotional confidential counseling roles requires developing trauma-informed counseling practices and industry-wide stakeholder support structures. Keywords: confidential counselor, psycho-social complexity, emotions, trauma, support
... And personal distress refers to self-oriented feelings like anxiety stem from another's distress (Davis, 1983;Spinrad & Eisenberg, 2009). Similarly, other scholars suggested that there are three core elements of empathy; these are self-regulation, affective arousal sharing, and emotion understanding (Decety, 2011). Based on these conceptualisations, Carré et al. (2013) suggested three dimensions of empathy: emotional contagion (automatic and unconscious matching others' emotions), cognitive empathy (understanding others' affects), and emotional disconnection (function as regulatory mechanism to protect self against pain and distress) (p. ...
Article
Previous studies have mostly focused on the socialisation role of parents on adolescents’ prosocial behaviours and there is relatively less work focusing on peers who are important socialisation agents for the development of prosocial behaviours in adolescence. Further, simultaneously examining the socialisation roles of multiple socialisation agents in prosocial behaviours and empathy development is even rarer. Thus, in the current study, we examined supportive and poor relationships with three socialisation agents (i.e., parents, peers in class, and peers in extracurricular activities) on adolescents’ prosocial behaviours, considering whether empathy mediates these relations. Additionally, we examined the links between supportive and poor relationships with peers in the class and extracurricular activities and adolescents’ prosocial behaviours, and the mediating role of empathy. The sample was 676 French adolescents (50% female, Mage = 14.35 years). Supportive relationships and poor relationships models were tested separately. We examined the relative strengths of three socialisation agents using three-socialiser and two-socialiser models. In the three-socialiser model, supportive relationships with parents and peers in the extracurricular activities were positively linked to adolescents’ empathy a year later, which, in turn, was positively linked to helping and caring behaviours. Additionally, poor relationships with parents were negatively linked to adolescents’ empathy a year later, which, in turn, was positively linked to helping and caring behaviours. In the two-socialiser model, both supportive relationships with peers in class and extracurricular activities were positively linked to adolescents’ empathy 1 year later, which, in turn, was positively linked to helping and caring behaviours but only for early adolescents. Lastly, in the two-socialiser model, poor relationships with peers in extracurricular activities were negatively linked to adolescents’ empathy 1 year later, which, in turn, was positively linked to helping and caring behaviours. In general, these results were robust across adolescents’ gender and age. Overall, results make several important contributions to the literature on the role of multiple socialisation agents and adolescents’ prosocial behaviours.
Article
Phenomenon: Resident physicians experience high degrees of burnout. Medical educators are tasked with implementing burnout interventions, however they possess an incomplete understanding of residents’ lived experiences with this phenomenon. Attempts to understand burnout using quantitative methods may insufficiently capture the complexities of resident burnout and limit our ability to implement meaningful specialty-specific interventions. Qualitative studies examining how residents conceptualize burnout have been briefly examined in other specialties, however the specific stressors that characterize emergency medicine training may lead residents to experience burnout differently. This study used qualitative methodology to explore emergency medicine trainees’ perceptions of the complex phenomenon of burnout during their residency training years. Approach: In order to evaluate a novel wellness intervention at their emergency medicine residency program, the authors conducted four semi-structured focus groups with residents and recent alumni from May 2018 to August 2018. After the focus groups concluded, the authors noted that they lacked an insightful understanding of their residents’ own experiences with physician burnout. Thus, they performed a secondary analysis of data initially gathered for the curricular evaluation. They followed a reflexive thematic analysis approach, analyzing all focus group transcripts in an iterative manner, discussing and refining codes, and developing thematic categories. Findings: Residents described individual-level manifestations of burnout in their day-to-day lives, a calloused view of patient suffering in the clinical environment, and a fatalistic view toward burnout during their training. They experienced a pervasive negativity, emotional fragility, and neglect of self that bled into their social environments. Clinically, burnout contributed to the erosion of the therapeutic physician-patient relationship. Residents perceived burnout as an inevitable and necessary element of their residency training years. Insights: Residents’ lived experiences with burnout include nonclinical manifestations that challenge existing frameworks suggesting that burnout is restricted to the work domain. Burnout interventions in emergency medicine training programs may be more effective if educators inculcate habitual practices of self-monitoring in trainees and explicitly set resident expectations of patient acuity in the clinical environment. Supplemental data for this article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1080/10401334.2021.1875833.
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There is increasing evidence of the potential therapeutic value of the psychedelic brew ayahuasca for disorders like depression, PTSD, and anxiety. While the focus has been on ayahuasca’s capacity to reduce symptoms of these disorders, including enhancing mood state and well-being, little attention has been paid to the (higher-order) cognitive processes that may be enhanced or that may play a role in this. Examples of such processes include flexible (creative) thinking, empathy, and emotion regulation, which are crucial for everyday interactions and cooperation, and have been found to be decreased in certain pathological populations. The aim of the present chapter is to review the acute and long-term effects of ayahuasca on (higher-order) cognitive processes, such as flexible (creative) thinking, empathy, and emotion regulation, and look for the link between these cognitive effects and subjective mood state and well-being. Findings show that, although objective evidence is limited due to a scarcity of studies, previous studies with ayahuasca and similar psychedelics, like psilocybin and LSD, support the notion that ayahuasca can enhance previously mentioned higher-order cognitive processes. Importantly, evidence is given to suggest that this enhancement outlasts the acute stage, thus potentially persisting over time. Unfortunately, no study assessed the relationship between these cognitive effects and mood and well-being. It is concluded that, while these findings partially explain why ayahuasca has therapeutic utility in the treatment of certain psychopathologies, future clinical research into the therapeutic effects of ayahuasca could assess the relationship between the effect on (higher-order) cognitive and emotional processes and mood and well-being and test the role both play in symptom alleviation in the pathological population in the short and longer term.
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Psychopathy and sadism represent overlapping, albeit distinct dark traits. They generally affect interpersonal interactions negatively, and bring damage to other individuals. They are both associated with aggressive and antisocial behavior, and deficient emotional processes. Psychopathy is usually characterized by deficits in experiencing negative emotions and difficulty to recognize them. This leads to a difficulty in inhibiting socially unacceptable behaviors. Unlike psychopathy, sadism is still less investigated. This trait holds enjoyment in other’s suffering at its core, which is tightly related to achieving pleasure. Sadistic individuals have intensified positive response to violence, and it is believed this is source of their motivation to torture others. For this reason, it is suggested they probably have normal or better ability to recognize emotional expressions, along with getting positive reaction to distress of others. The main objective of the first study was to explore psychopathy and sadism in relation to emotional experience and aspects of social cognition, such as emotion perception and implicit emotional associations with violence. The main goal of our second study was to explore these traits in context of everyday emotional experience and situational characteristics. Data for our first study were collected on a sample of 235 university students using self-report measures of psychopathy and sadism (and Brutality as additional trait), and tasks covering different aspects of emotion-related processes – emotion perception, explicit emotional responses to violent and peaceful stimuli, and implicit emotional associations to violent and peaceful stimuli. Our second study relied on Day Reconstruction Method administered to a subsample of 67 undergraduate students. In two days, we collected 1340 episodes comprising emotional experience in everyday context, situational ratings, and measures capturing subjective effects of interpersonal interactions. These were studied in relation with psychopathy, sadism, and additional dark traits (narcissism, Machiavellianism, Brutality). Results of our first study indicate differential relations of psychopathy and sadism with emotion perception ability. We confirmed broader deficit in psychopathy, with Cognitive responsiveness and Affective responsiveness as traits most robustly showing negative relations with this ability. On the other hand, sadism showed a positive contribution to identification of emotional expressions. In terms of emotional response to violence, we established different emotional profiles of psychopathic and sadistic individuals – while psychopaths have issues with appropriately generating negative emotions, sadistic individuals are characterized by positive reactivity to violence. Finally, using the implicit paradigm, we primarily showed relations with psychopathy, suggesting easier associating of pleasant emotions with violence. Our second study used multilevel modeling to determine intra and inter-individual variance of dark traits and their cross-situational relations with emotional experience. Even though we did not confirm several of our assumptions, especially regarding psychopathy, we showed sadism has links with general negative affectivity, perceived negativity, and adversity of experienced situations with perceived emotional distress. Our results are mostly reflecting the existing literature on psychopathic traits, and add novel information to growing literature on sadistic traits. Especially relevant are the established differences in emotional processes between these traits. Furthermore, our diary study represents the first one to apply this method in research of sadism.
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Theoretical models suggest that it is the interplay between social cognitive processes that result in adaptive social functioning in schizophrenia. This study explored the relative contributions of, and interplay between, cognitive empathy, affective theory of mind (ToM), neurocognition, and severity of clinical symptoms, in predicting the social functioning of individuals with schizophrenia. Clinical participants (early schizophrenia n = 26, chronic schizophrenia n = 32) were administered an ecologically valid measure of ToM (viz., the Virtual Assessment of Mentalising Ability or VAMA) and the Empathy Quotient (EQ) as part of a larger neuropsychological and social functioning assessment battery. Results indicated that individuals with early schizophrenia reported significantly better cognitive empathy than individuals with chronic schizophrenia. ToM was found to have added value in predicting both community functioning and functional capacity that was beyond that accounted for by cognitive empathy, clinical symptoms, and neurocognition for both clinical groups. Further, our results indicated that the capacity to demonstrate empathic understanding of another's situation (i.e., cognitive empathy) mediates the relationship between ToM and social functioning. Together, our findings highlight the intricate and compounding nature of social cognition constructs, and their effect on social functioning for individuals with schizophrenia.
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This paper analyses Edgar Wind’s interpretation of Aby Warburg’s opus by focusing on the role of the concept of Einfühlung (empathy) theorised by Robert Vischer in Warburg’s thought. The notion of empathy is at the core of Warburg’s investigation of Renaissance imagery, style, symbols, and human expression. This study also updates Vischer’s, Warburg’s, and Wind’s insights on the biological basis of empathy in light of recent neuroscientific research, as Warburg and Wind desired. As this study shows, the concept of Einfühlung can be further developed, considering recent advances in cognitive neuroscience, confirming Warburg’s and Wind’s understanding of the biological implications of images for both the artist and the observer. To this end, ongoing neuroscientific research on motion, emotion, and empathy is considered.
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Reduced empathy and elevated alexithymia are observed in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which has been linked to altered asymmetry in brain morphology. Here, we investigated whether trait autism, empathy, and alexithymia in the general population is associated with brain morphological asymmetry. We determined left–right asymmetry indexes for cortical thickness and cortical surface area (CSA) and applied these features to a support-vector regression model that predicted trait autism, empathy, and alexithymia. Results showed that less leftward asymmetry of CSA in the gyrus rectus (a subregion of the orbitofrontal cortex) predicted more difficulties in social functioning, as well as reduced cognitive empathy and elevated trait alexithymia. Meta-analytic decoding of the left gyrus rectus annotated functional items related to social cognition. Furthermore, the link between gyrus rectus asymmetry and social difficulties was accounted by trait alexithymia and cognitive empathy. These results suggest that gyrus rectus asymmetry could be a shared neural correlate among trait alexithymia, cognitive empathy, and social functioning in neurotypical adults. Left–right asymmetry of gyrus rectus influenced social functioning by affecting the cognitive processes of emotions in the self and others. Interventions that increase leftward asymmetry of the gyrus rectus might improve social functioning for individuals with ASD.
Chapter
Teaching empathy is vital to sustaining the social contract and furthering social justice, but it is also crucial to various career fields. In this chapter, we adapt a framework for teaching through the theoretical lens of an ethic of care for teaching empathy, online, in various content areas and settings. Because of an ethic of care’s emphasis on relationships and perspective taking, we view it as an appropriate lens through which to view the social justice classroom and to teach empathy at an intrapersonal, interpersonal, and global level.
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Previous studies have found that repeatedly exposed to a threatening situation may reduce doctors' level of empathy, reducing psychological stress and avoiding burnout and compassion fatigue. However, many essential studies found that it does not seem universal but rather modulated by group membership. In this study, we recorded event-related potentials (ERP) when doctors and controls watched visual stimuli describing patients attacking doctors (Threat events) or shaking hands with doctors (Neutral events). The present study showed an early N190 and a later centro-parietal P3 differential amplitude between threat stimuli and neutral stimuli were observed in the controls. For the doctors, there was such ERP differentiation in early N190. However, later stage P3 differential amplitude was not observed. The current research suggests that doctors could regulate empathy and avoid allocating more attention resources when processing social threats to ensure treatment efficiency and avoid burnout.
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Empathy is the ability to experience a shared affective state as others. It enhances group living and manifests itself as helping behavior towards a distressed person. It also can flourish by nurturing. Recent findings suggest that rodents exhibit empathy-like behavior towards their conspecifics. However, the role of early-life experiences (e.g., maternal care) is not clear on the development of empathy-like behavior. Moreover, brain-derived neutrophilic factor (BDNF) is a pivotal protein in modulating the brain's function and behaviors. Evidence suggests that the expression of the BDNF gene can be affected by the quality of maternal care. In this study, we questioned whether variation in maternal care modulates empathy-like behavior of male rats in adulthood. Additionally, gene expression of BDNF was measured in the amygdala, hippocampus, insula, anterior cingulate cortex, prefrontal cortex, and striatum in these adult male rats. Based on the pattern of maternal care, the offspring were divided into high maternal care (HMC) and low maternal care (LMC) groups. We confirmed that the early-life experience of HMC significantly promoted the empathy-like behavior of rats in adulthood compared to LMC. In terms of gene expression, the HMC group consistently had higher BDNF gene expression in all studied regions, except anterior cingulate cortex which groups were not different. Taken together, it suggests that maternal care in infancy predicts empathy-like behavior in adulthood and differences in BDNF gene expression in different brain regions may reflect the underlying mechanism.
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Schizophrenia (SZ) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) show overlap in social cognitive and functioning impairments. Proposed predictors of social functioning (SF) and quality of life (QL) have been symptom severity, IQ and social cognition. Empathy has rarely been compared between ASD and SZ and its predictive power on functional outcomes is unclear. We investigated general, affective, and cognitive empathy in 46 SZ, 30 ASD and 51 healthy controls (HC) and examined their relationship to SF and QL in addition to IQ and symptoms. SZ and ASD shared deficits in general and cognitive empathy, and personal distress, but only SZ showed deficits in affective empathy. Both groups showed lower performance-based empathy scores and only ASD showed slower responses compared to HC. Negative symptoms predicted QL in both groups, the more negative symptoms the worse QL (ASD t=-3.22; SZ t= -3.43; p<0.01), and only in ASD, IQ predicted QL, the higher the IQ the higher QL (t = 2.1; p<0.05). In ASD only, negative symptoms predicted SF, the greater negative symptoms the worse SF (t=-3.45; p<0.01), and communication deficits predicted SF, the higher deficits, the higher SF (t = 2.9; p<0.01). Negative symptoms but not empathy were the shared predictors of functioning across ASD and SZ.
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Resource scarcity challenges individuals' willingness to share limited resources with other people. Still, lots of field studies and laboratory experiments have shown that sharing behaviors do not disappear under scarcity. Rather, some individuals are willing to share their scarce resources with others in a similar way as when the resource is abundant, which is crucial for the maintenance and development of human society. Here, we designed a novel paradigm in which subjects decided whether (and how much) to share an amount of "relieving resources" for counteracting unpleasant noises, which mimics real-life situations that people cost their own resources to help others escape from adversity. Overall, the robustness of resource sharing under scarcity was positively correlated with individual level of the cognitive component of empathy across two independent experiments. Resource insufficiency modulated the activations of several brain regions (including the TPJ, mPFC, and PCC) as well as the functional connection (from the rTPJ to the mPFC) within the mentalizing brain network, but the modulatory effect decreased as a function of cognitive empathy. We also applied the administration of oxytocin and found significant effects on sharing behavior among individuals with a higher level of cognitive empathy, but not their low-level counterparts. These findings highlight the importance of empathy to resource sharing under scarcity and explain the underlying neurobiological mechanisms.
Thesis
The therapeutic relationship is one of the important variables that may attribute to optimal therapeutic outcomes in the context of early intensive behavior analytic interventions. Despite the fact that contribution of empathy and compassion to the establishment of a therapeutic relationship has been studied extensively within the field of psychotherapy, there are very few studies that address its impact in the context of applied behavior analytic interventions. Those studies emphasize elements of the therapist-child relationship that may be developed prior to a therapeutic session rather than during a session. The purpose of the study was to investigate the therapeutic relationship between ABA therapists and children with ASD in the context of a therapeutic session and in relation to the level of clinical expertise of the therapists. Specifically, several variables were identified and analyzed systematically in terms of their contribution to the enhancement of a therapeutic relationship, such as compassion and physical proximity of the therapist to the child, contingent delivery of social reinforcement, and imitative responding. Other than the analysis of direct primary data of the dependent measures, descriptive and inferential statistics were used to assess the differences among therapists with several years of experience and minimal clinical experience. To assess the reliability of the data, interobserver agreement measures were obtained throughout the study. The results of the study suggest that experienced therapists demonstrated higher rates of all the above skills, with the exception of the therapists' response to the positive emotions of children with ASD, a condition under which the inexperienced therapists responded with higher rates of compassion. Nonetheless, a statistically significant difference between the two groups of therapists was obtained only in terms of demonstrating compassion on the part of the therapist, therapists’ reaction to negative emotions, the demonstration of physical proximity with engagement, the description and positive and negative emotions of children with ASD. The findings of this study demonstrate that the clinical experience of therapists may play an important role in developing and in promoting the establishment of a therapeutic relationship between children with ASD and their therapists. The difference between the two groups of therapists may be attributed to several characteristics of experienced therapists, such as their ability to demonstrate compassion and their use of appropriate interpersonal skills.
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We described behavioral studies to highlight emotional processing deficits in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The findings suggest prominent deficit in recognizing negative emotions, pronounced effect of positive emotion on enhancing memory, and a critical role of cognitive deficits in manifesting emotional processing dysfunction in AD. We reviewed imaging studies to highlight morphometric and functional markers of hippocampal circuit dysfunction in emotional processing deficits. Despite amygdala reactivity to emotional stimuli, hippocampal dysfunction conduces to deficits in emotional memory. Finally, the reviewed studies implicating major neurotransmitter systems in anxiety and depression in AD supported altered cholinergic and noradrenergic signaling in AD emotional disorders. Overall, the studies showed altered emotions early in the course of illness and suggest the need of multimodal imaging for further investigations. Particularly, longitudinal studies with multiple behavioral paradigms translatable between preclinical and clinical models would provide data to elucidate the time course and underlying neurobiology of emotion processing dysfunction in AD.
Chapter
While in the beginning of the twentieth century psychiatrists’ therapeutic interventions mainly addressed one’s psyche, using verbal psychoanalysis based on psychological theories, towards the end of the twentieth century and with the advancement of neuroscience, the biological approach to mental health took over, and most psychiatric interventions became pharmacological in nature, addressing one’s neurophysiology and brain function. In recent years, an integrative approach of combining psychological with biological interventions is advocated for psychiatric rehabilitation. In their chapter, Wengrower and Bendel-Rozow address primarily the psychological approach to psychiatry and discuss how dance movement therapy (DMT) with psychiatric patients corresponds with this approach and approved to be effective. In my commentary, I propose an explanation and some examples for the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying DMT’s methods and therapeutic effects, illustrating the effectiveness of DMT based on the principles of the biological and the integrative approaches to psychiatric rehabilitation. These underlying neurophysiological mechanisms include brain networks and mechanisms responsible for emotional processing and for the associations in the brain between certain proprioceptive input from the moving body and specific emotions, the mirror neurons and their contribution to empathy and understanding others’ emotions, neurophysiological findings regarding therapist–patient interbrain coupling, and principles of the Polyvagal Theory as applied in DMT.
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While negative attitudes within the social work community toward clients struggling with addiction may not be ubiquitous, there is evidence that such attitudes remain problematic. Interestingly, there is very little research available concerning factors that may be involved with these adverse attitudes. While extant research suggests social workers demonstrate low empathy toward clients with a Substance Use Disorder (SUD), there is little empirical exploration of the relationship between dispositional empathy and subsequent attitudes. Similarly, a practitioner’s spirituality may also influence their views of SUD clients, yet there is little evidence investigating this relationship. This study explored the relationship between empathy, spirituality, and attitudes toward clients with SUDs. Results demonstrated that both empathy and spirituality have some predictive potential and that some dimensions of empathy and spirituality interact. The results also showed that different dimensions were important for social work students and social work practitioners.
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Moral disengagement and empathy have been linked to aggression in traditional bullying. A number of longitudinal studies have focused on how these variables predict aggressive behavior within the dynamics of bullying. However, no conclusive results have been produced as to whether aggressive behavior in bullying can predict lower levels of empathy, and to date, no studies have explored in depth the mediating role of moral disengagement strategies in this relationship, which is the aim of this study. A total of 1,810 students (51.0% girls; M age = 14.50; SD = 1.05) completed a survey in three waves at 6-month intervals. The results showed that aggressive behavior in bullying at Time 1 was inversely related to affective and cognitive empathy at Time 3. Minimization of responsibility, distortion of consequences and dehumanizing mediated in the aggressive behavior exhibited by the bullying aggressors and in cognitive empathy, while cognitive restructuring and the distortion of consequences mediated in affective empathy. We discuss the impact on moral and emotional sensitivity of the continued aggression occurring in the interpersonal dynamics of bullying, as well as the relationship between certain strategies of moral disengagement and the different types of empathy. We also comment on the need to design intervention programs to address the lowering of moral criteria and empathy in young people and adolescents involved in traditional bullying.
Chapter
The starting point of this chapter is the evidence that the “self” is to be understood by reference to the “others”. Given this game situations offer the best framework for analyzing their dynamic relations and thus making game theory as the appropriate tool. The first part recalls the evolution of the ideas on the topic, from Leibniz studies on board games to Game theory, and from Von Neumann Morgenstern approach by means of cooperative games to Nash investigation by means of non-cooperative games. In the second part, the concept of “common knowledge” which was introduced by game theorists for linking the self to the others is analyzed from a logic view point, as well as from a mentalist approach. More precisely the assumption that rationality is common knowledge between the players is discussed and criticized. In a third part the recent contributions of neurosciences to the topic are introduced and discussed through three main dimensions: The discover of the “mirror neurons”, the contribution of the theory of mind and the neural substates of empathy. The idea of a connection between the” self” and “the others” ’by means of a kind of mental dictionary is suggested in the conclusion.
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This chapter examines empathy as a construct, with an emphasis on a sense of similarity in feelings experienced by the self and the other. It explains how confusion between self and other can turn empathy into sympathy or even personal distress. It reviews the results of recent social neuroscience research that investigated the behavioral and neural responses of people to the pain of others. These studies show that a person who perceives another individual in pain results in the activation of the former’s neural network involved in the processing of firsthand experience of pain. The chapter also looks at the neural circuits responsible for a person’s ability to perceive the pain of others in the context of the shared-representation theory of social cognition. In addition, it discusses perspective taking and the ability to differentiate the self from the other.
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Introduction Is it good to be empathic? Even taking into account the wide spectrum of definitions associated with the term ‘empathy’, people are generally in favour of the concept. Psychological research and anecdotal evidence suggest that empathy is widely valued. Hogan's (1969) individual difference measure of empathy has items which suggest that high scorers are all-around good citizens in addition to being empathic (e.g. ‘I usually take an active part in the entertainment at parties’ and ‘Most of the arguments or quarrels I get into are over matters of principle’). When Norman (1967) rank-ordered traits in terms of social desirability, empathy was rated on average at 6.7 on a 9-point scale, where 9 was the highest desirability. Many of the chapters in this book (e.g. chapters 2, 8) point to deficits in empathy or the absence of empathy as being prominent features of serious psychological disorders and mental disabilities. Indeed, respect for empathy is so great that many criminals, particularly sex offenders (e.g. Pithers, 1994), have been enrolled in ‘empathy training’ programmes (albeit some based on inconclusive research findings) as a part of rehabilitation. It appears that the ability to respond empathically is highly sought after. However, there can be too much of a good thing, and although it has been said that one can never be too rich or too thin, there do appear to be costs to being too empathic, as well as costs associated with the more common other extreme (not being empathic enough). © Cambridge University Press 2007 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.
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This chapter examines the role of self-regulation—especially as reflected in effortful control which has been linked to neurological functioning—in empathy-related responding. Developmental psychologists have identified self-regulatory processes such as planning, the inhibition of behavior, activation of behavior, voluntary control of the allocation of attention, and integration of information such that one can detect errors. After briefly discussing some definitional and conceptual issues, the chapter reviews the results of studies that investigated pain and its regulation as well as sympathy and personal distress. It also explains how attachment and parenting affect the development of empathy and self-regulation in children.
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Recent neuroimaging and neuropsychological work has begun to shed light on how the brain responds to the viewing of facial expressions of emotion. However, one important category of facial expression that has not been studied on this level is the facial expression of pain. We investigated the neural response to pain expressions by performing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as subjects viewed short video sequences showing faces expressing either moderate pain or, for comparison, no pain. In alternate blocks, the same subjects received both painful and non-painful thermal stimulation. Facial expressions of pain were found to engage cortical areas also engaged by the first-hand experience of pain, including anterior cingulate cortex and insula. The reported findings corroborate other work in which the neural response to witnessed pain has been examined from other perspectives. In addition, they lend support to the idea that common neural substrates are involved in representing one's own and others' affective states.
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the concepts of empathy, sympathy, and role taking frequently are embedded in theories and models of moral development / however, these various terms frequently have not been adequately differentiated consider definitions of the aforementioned terms, review empirical research on relations among the constructs of interest, and hypothesize about possible links among vicariously induced emotional reactions and cognitive processing / the cognitive processes considered are conditioning/direct association, labeling, elaborated networking, and role taking; the various vicarious emotional processes are empathy, sympathy, and personal distress / alternative tentative causal models are presented and discussed / the possible sequencing of these various processes is addressed / issues concerning the elicitation and maintenance of vicariously induced emotional responses and related cognitive processes are viewed of importance to an understanding of pro- and antisocial behavior (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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One common point of debate in the study of emotion is whether the basic, irreducible elements of emotional life are discrete emotion categories, such as anger, fear, sadness, and so on, or dimensions such as approach and avoidance. Resolving this debate will identify the basic building blocks of emotional life that are the most appropriate targets of scientific inquiry. In this paper, we briefly review meta-analytic work on the neuroimaging of emotion and examine its potential for identifying “natural kinds” of emotion in the brain. We outline criteria for identifying such natural kinds, summarize the evidence to date on category and dimensional approaches, and suggest ways in which neuroimaging studies could more directly address fundamental questions about the nature of emotion.
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SYNOPSIS Objective. To develop an evolutionary model that integrates human parenting and family formation with ideas about the evolved functions of distinctive hu-man characteristics, such as concealed ovulation and sophisticated socio-cognitive competencies. Design. Theoretical and empirical research across sci-entific disciplines is reviewed. The emphasis is on ecological and social conditions that covary, across species, with parenting, family formation, and potentially coevolving characteristics, such as a long developmental period. Results. For humans, social competition through coalition formation emerges as the key selective pressure that readily explains the coevolution of a constella-tion of characteristics that covary with parenting and family formation, includ-ing a lengthy developmental period, reduced sexual dimorphism, concealed ovulation, menopause, complex kinship networks, large brains, and sophisti-cated sociocognitive competencies. Individual and cross-cultural variations in patterns of parenting dynamics and family formation are viewed as adaptive phenotypic responses to different ecological and historical conditions. Conclu-sions. Human parenting and family formation are features of a coevolving suite of distinctive human characteristics, the evolutionary function of which is to fa-cilitate the formation of kin-based coalitions for competition with other coali-tions for resource control. In this view, a central function of human parenting and the human family is to provide a context for the development of socio-competitive competencies appropriate to the local ecology.
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When we attend to other people in pain, the neural circuits underpinning the processing of first-hand experience of pain are activated in the observer. This basic somatic sensorimotor resonance plays a critical role in the primitive building block of empathy and moral reasoning that relies on the sharing of others’ distress. However, the full-blown capacity of human empathy is more sophisticated than the mere simulation of the target's affective state. Indeed, empathy is about both sharing and understanding the emotional state of others in relation to oneself. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, 17 typically developing children (range 7–12 yr) were scanned while presented with short animated visual stimuli depicting painful and non-painful situations. These situations involved either a person whose pain was accidentally caused or a person whose pain was intentionally inflicted by another individual. After scanning, children rated how painful these situations appeared. Consistent with previous fMRI studies of pain empathy with adults, the perception of other people in pain in children was associated with increased hemodynamic activity in the neural circuits involved in the processing of first-hand experience of pain, including the insula, somatosensory cortex, anterior midcingulate cortex, periaqueductal gray, and supplementary motor area. Interestingly, when watching another person inflicting pain onto another, regions that are consistently engaged in representing social interaction and moral behavior (the temporo-parietal junction, the paracingulate, orbital medial frontal cortices, amygdala) were additionally recruited, and increased their connectivity with the fronto-parietal attention network. These results are important to set the standard for future studies with children who exhibit social cognitive disorders (e.g., antisocial personality disorder, conduct disorder) and are often deficient in experiencing empathy or guilt.
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The prefrontal cortex (PFC) undergoes one of the longest periods of development of any brain region, taking over two decades to reach full maturity in humans. This chapter focuses on normal development, dividing it into the following epochs: 0-1 years, 1-3 years, 3-7 years, and 7 years through early adulthood. For each epoch, it summarizes some of what is known about (a) the development of the working memory and inhibitory control functions that depend on PFC and (b) the anatomical and biochemical developmental changes in PFC during that period.
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Describes the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) and its relationships with measures of social functioning, self-esteem, emotionality, and sensitivity to others. 677 male and 667 female undergraduates served as Ss. Each of the 4 IRI subscales displayed a distinctive and predictable pattern of relationships with these measures, as well as with previous unidimensional empathy measures. Findings provide evidence for a multidimensional approach to empathy. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
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The ability to empathize with the suffering of others is critical for maintaining relationships and engaging in prosocial behavior. Recently, a series of studies have demonstrated that while watching other people experience pain (other pain), participants engage the anterior insula (AI) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), brain regions involved in the direct experience of pain (self pain). Here we test the hypothesis that common activity in ACC and AI may reflect the operation of distinct but overlapping networks of regions that support perception of self or other pain. To address this possibility, we scanned participants using fMRI while they received noxious thermal stimulation (self pain) or watched short videos of other people sustaining painful injuries (other pain). We isolated overlapping regions for self and other pain in the ACC and AI and then used them as seed regions for two kinds of functional connectivity analyses. These analyses identified areas whose activity co-varied with ACC and AI activity during self or other pain either across time (intra-individual connectivity) or across participants (inter-individual connectivity). Both connectivity analyses identified clusters in the midbrain and periaqueductal gray with greater connectivity to the AI during self pain as opposed to other pain. The opposite pattern was found in the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex, that showed greater connectivity to the ACC and AI during other pain than during self pain using both types of analysis. Intra-individual connectivity analyses also revealed regions in the superior temporal sulcus, posterior cingulate, and precuneus that became more connected to ACC during other pain as compared to self pain. Together, these data demonstrated that regions showing similar activity during self and other pain may nonetheless be part of distinct functional networks. These networks could not have been detected in prior work that examined overlap between self and other pain in terms of average activity, but not connectivity.
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Neuroscientific research has consistently found that the perception of an affective state in another activates the observer's own neural substrates for the corresponding state, which is likely the neural mechanism for "true empathy." However, to date there has not been a brain-imaging investigation of so-called "cognitive empathy", whereby one "actively projects oneself into the shoes of another person," imagining someone's personal, emotional experience as if it were one's own. In order to investigate this process, we conducted a combined psychophysiology and PET and study in which participants imagined: (1) a personal experience of fear or anger from their own past; (2) an equivalent experience from another person as if it were happening to them; and (3) a nonemotional experience from their own past. When participants could relate to the scenario of the other, they produced patterns of psychophysiological and neuroimaging activation equivalent to those of personal emotional imagery, but when they could not relate to the other's story, differences emerged on all measures, e.g., decreased psychophysiological responses and recruitment of a region between the inferior temporal and fusiform gyri. The substrates of cognitive empathy overlap with those of personal feeling states to the extent that one can relate to the state and situation of the other.
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Facial expressions contain both motor and emotional components. The inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and posterior parietal cortex have been considered to compose a mirror neuron system (MNS) for the motor components of facial expressions, while the amygdala and insula may represent an "additional" MNS for emotional states. Together, these systems may contribute to our understanding of facial expressions. Here we further examine this possibility. In three separate event-related fMRI experiment, subjects had to (1) observe (2) discriminate and (3) imitate facial expressions. Stimuli were dynamic neutral, happy, fearful and disgusted facial expressions, and in Experiments 1 and 2, an additional pattern motion condition. Importantly, during each experiment, subjects were unaware of the nature of the next experiments. Results demonstrate that even passive viewing of facial expressions activates a wide network of brain regions that were also involved in the execution of similar expressions, including the IFG/insula and the posterior parietal cortex. Only a subset of these regions responded more during the observation of facial than pattern motion (bilateral ventral IFG, bilateral STS/MTG, bilateral amygdala, SMA). While the viewing of facial expressions recruited similar brain regions in all three experiments, adding an active task (discrimination, imitation) augmented the magnitude of these activations. Brain activations reflected differences in observed facial expressions, with emotional expressions activating relatively more the insula/frontal operculum, and neutral ones (blowing up the cheeks) the somatosensory cortices (SII). Using movies, fear activated the amygdala and disgust the insula, but other emotions activated these structures to a similar degree.
Chapter
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.
Article
A dicussion between Frans de Waal and Evan Thompson with Jim Proctor as interviewer
Chapter
This chapter focuses on autonomic and neuroendocrine processes that underlie social behaviors and emotional states, including those that are believed to reflect empathy in humans. Empathy has been considered a unique characteristic of human consciousness, but evidence suggests that emotional contagion and consolation exist in other mammalian species, including social primates such as bonobo chimpanzees. The chapter argues that empathy is a trait shared by humans with other mammals and linked to the neural circuits that emerged during the evolutionary transition from reptiles to mammals. It discusses empathy in relation to the evolution of social awareness in mammals, along with the neuroendocrine correlates of sociality, prosocial behaviors in highly social mammals, the role of neuropeptides in selective sociality, and possible mechanisms for sex differences in sociality or empathy.
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Differences in the deployment of altruism in human and non-human primate groups raise two different questions in this article. This article considers some of the factors that may limit the extent of cooperation in non-human primate groups. In particular, it focuses on the evidence for the features that are associated with altruistic behaviour in humans: the capacity for empathy, the existence of moral sentiments, and the concern for the welfare of others. The article also defines cooperation as equivalent to the biological definition of altruism, and uses these terms interchangeably. It distinguishes between empathy and sympathy. The definition of empathy corresponds to Stephanie Preston and Frans de Waal's concept of 'cognitive empathy'. While one often conflates empathy and sympathy, the two can be uncoupled. Thus, empathy is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for sympathy.
Article
We recorded electrical activity from 532 neurons in the rostral part of inferior area 6 (area F5) of two macaque monkeys. Previous data had shown that neurons of this area discharge during goal-directed hand and mouth movements. We describe here the properties of a newly discovered set of F5 neurons ("mirror neurons', n = 92) all of which became active both when the monkey performed a given action and when it observed a similar action performed by the experimenter. Mirror neurons, in order to be visually triggered, required an interaction between the agent of the action and the object of it. The sight of the agent alone or of the object alone (three-dimensional objects, food) were ineffective. Hand and the mouth were by far the most effective agents. The actions most represented among those activating mirror neurons were grasping, manipulating and placing. In most mirror neurons (92%) there was a clear relation between the visual action they responded to and the motor response they coded. In approximately 30% of mirror neurons the congruence was very strict and the effective observed and executed actions corresponded both in terms of general action (e.g. grasping) and in terms of the way in which that action was executed (e.g. precision grip). We conclude by proposing that mirror neurons form a system for matching observation and execution of motor actions. We discuss the possible role of this system in action recognition and, given the proposed homology between F5 and human Brocca's region, we posit that a matching system, similar to that of mirror neurons exists in humans and could be involved in recognition of actions as well as phonetic gestures.
Chapter
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.
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This article provides a comprehensive examination of the evolution of human emotion with special emphasis on the signals used in social communication. It describes emotion from three main perspectives: the biological adaptive nature of emotion, social communication and the relationship between facial expressions and emotion, and finally, unique human emotions such as self-conscious moral emotions. The first section examines the nature of emotion as an innate, biological reflex underlying adaptive behavior. It describes the automaticity of emotion processes as biased toward detecting negative information. It concludes with a discussion of innate facial reactions to taste and the importance of early experience in the normal development of emotional behavior. The biological adaptive nature of emotions is a common property underlying the behavior of most animals and all primates. The second section discusses the relationship between facial expressions and emotions and raises the possibility that some human and nonhuman primate facial expressions are homologous. In support of this assumption, it describes the development of a new facial action coding system for identifying chimpanzee facial expressions that is based on the well-known human coding system. This is particularly important for understanding the evolution of emotion in that it provides an objective basis for comparing emotional signals across related species. The final section introduces social complexity as a factor driving the elaboration of the neocortex among primates. Species with complex societies evolved behavioral strategies for dealing with flexible and interchanging relationships. This section goes on to describe the behavioral displays and brain systems underlying self-conscious, social emotions, such as shame, pride, embarrassment, and guilt. These social emotions require that individuals have basic theory-of-mind skills and may be unique human specializations. The section concludes with a potential mechanism for the evolution of social emotions, or emotional awareness, based on social contagion, a low-level form of empathy that is present in many large-brain social species.
Article
Social science, and neuroscience perspectives represent two ends of a continuum of levels of organization studied in psychology. Human behavior as a whole unfolds at social levels, of organization,whereas much of the research in psychology has focused on cognitive and biological pieces of this whole. Recent evidence underscores the complementary nature of social, cognitive, and biological levels of analysis and how research integrating these levels can foster more comprehensive theories of the mechanisms underlying complex behavior and the mind. This research underscores the unity of psychology and the importance of retaining multilevel integrative research that spans molar and molecular levels of analysis.
Article
review various standard approaches to the development of emotional understanding [in children] / beyond the period of early infancy, we not only feel an emotion, we also know that we are feeling an emotion / this self-awareness can be used to report, anticipate, hide, and alter the emotional state / second, we can identify and understand the emotions that others feel / trace the development of this dual awareness / argue that some of its early manifestations reflect a wider body of knowledge about the workings of the mind that children construct, regardless of culture (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Most clinical and counseling psychologists have identified three distinct skills required in true empathy: the ability to share the other person’s feelings, the cognitive ability to intuit what another person is feeling, and a “socially beneficial” intention to respond compassionately to that person’s distress. Scholars from various disciplines, including sociology, biology, neuroscience, social psychology, and life-span psychology, argue that primitive emotional contagion—a basic building block of human interaction that allows people to understand and to share the feelings of others—can shed light on human cognition, emotion, and behavior. This chapter discusses emotional contagion and describes three stages in the process of emotional contagion: mimicry, feedback, and contagion.
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Watching the movie scene in which a tarantula crawls on James Bond's chest can make us literally shiver—as if the spider crawled on our own chest. What neural mechanisms are responsible for this “tactile empathy”? The observation of the actions of others activates the premotor cortex normally involved in the execution of the same actions. If a similar mechanism applies to the sight of touch, movies depicting touch should automatically activate the somatosensory cortex of the observer. Here we found using fMRI that the secondary but not the primary somatosensory cortex is activated both when the participants were touched and when they observed someone or something else getting touched by objects. The neural mechanisms enabling our own sensation of touch may therefore be a window also to our understanding of touch.
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There are many advantages to defining emotions as states elicited by reinforcers, with the states having a set of different functions. This approach leads towards an understanding of the nature of emotion, of its evolutionary adaptive value, and of many principles of brain design. It also Leads towards a foundation for many of the processes that underlie evolutionary psychology and behavioral ecology. It is shown that recent as well as previous evidence implicates the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex in positive as well as negative emotions. The issue of why emotional states feel like something is part of the much larger problem of phenomenal consciousness. It is argued that thinking about one's own thoughts would have adaptive value by enabling first order linguistic thoughts to be corrected. It is suggested that reflecting on and correcting one's own thoughts and plans would feel like something, and that phenomenal consciousness may occur when this type of monitoring process is taking place.
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Human moral behaviour ranges from vicious cruelty to deep compassion, and any explanation of morality must address how our species is capable of such a range. Darwin argued that any social animal, with sufficient intellectual capacity, would develop morality. In agreement, I argue that human morality is unique in the animal kingdom not because of any particular moral capacity, but because some very abstract cognitive abilities that are unique to our species are layered on top of phylogenetically older emotional instincts for aggression and for empathy. I review research on several components of empathy, intersubjectivity and theory of mind, detailing which of these capacities is uniquely human, and highlighting relevant neuroanatomy for each ability. Finally, I describe our abstract cognitive abilities for recursion and metarepresentation, and argue that these are uniquely human. When these abilities interact with our older social abilities (empathy, intersubjectivity) we are able to reason abstractly about others' mental states and how to affect them. Thus, it is these abstract cognitive capacities that give us the ability to be both cruel and compassionate, but it is our ancient ability for empathy that keeps us moral. Morality is, in a very real sense, a gift from our ancestors.
Article
Although informed by cybernetic theory and hierarchical models of action control, the construct of executive function (EF) has its origins in analyses of the consequences of damage to prefrontal cortex (PFC). Early studies on patients with prefrontal damage, such as the famous case of Phineas Gage, revealed a peculiar pattern of deficits despite preservation of basic cognitive functions. These deficits include (but are not limited to) failures to make wise judgments, cognitive inflexibility, poor planning of future actions, and difficulty inhibiting inappropriate responses. The construct of EF is intended to capture the diverse set of psychological abilities whose impairment is presumed to underlie these manifest deficits. Together, these various abilities allow for conscious, goal-directed problem solving. This chapter discusses development of the prefrontal cortex in childhood; theories of executive function development; age-related changes in executive function; correlates of executive function; influences on executive function; and measurement issues. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Responses to mothers' presentations of happy, sad, and angry faces were studied in a sample of 12 infants, 6 boys and 6 girls at age 10 weeks ± 5 days. Each infant's mother displayed noncontingent, practiced facial and vocal expressions of the 3 emotions. Each expression occurred 4 times, with a 20-s head-turn-away between presentations. The orders of presentation were randomly assigned within sex of infant. Mothers' and infants' facial behaviors were coded using the Maximally Discriminative Facial Movement Coding System. The data indicated that (a) the infants discriminated each emotion, (b) apparent matching responses may occur under some conditions but not all, and (c) these apparent matching responses were only a part of nonrandom behavior patterns indicating induced emotional or affective responses of infants to mothers' expressions. (36 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Everybody is an expert on pain, by virtue of biological preparedness and personal experience. Unfortunately, this expertise fails large numbers of people, and we must improve our understanding through theoretical and research advances. A vast research-based literature on the nature and management of pain is now available, and there have been dramatic advances in our understanding and management of pain. Nevertheless, there continue to be major problems in the management of severe acute pain and chronic pain. It is argued that a formulation of pain that explicitly focuses upon social factors would more readily address human needs than models that focus upon biophysical and/or psychological factors alone (intrapersonal processes). Although ancient protective biological systems provide for escape and avoidance of pain, evolution of human capacities for cognitive processing and social adaptation necessitate a model of pain incorporating these capabilities (interpersonal processes). The more inclusive and comprehensive social communication model of pain is described and illustrated. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Students of empathy can seem a cantankerous lot. Although they typically agree that empathy is important, they often disagree about why it is important, about what effects it has, about where it comes from, and even about what it is. The term empathy is currently applied to more than a half-dozen phenomena. These phenomena are related to one another, but they are not elements, aspects, facets, or components of a single thing that is empathy, as one might say that an attitude has cognitive, affective, and behavioral components. Rather, each is a conceptually distinct, stand-alone psychological state. Further, each of these states has been called by names other than empathy. Opportunities for disagreement abound. In an attempt to sort out this disagreement, I wish first to identify two distinct questions that empathy is thought to answer. Then I wish to identify eight distinct phenomena that have been called empathy. Finally, I wish to relate these eight phenomena to the two questions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Two experiments replicated the results of a series of earlier studies by A. Sagi and M. L. Hoffman (see record 1976-12035-001) and M. L. Simner (see record 1971-28677-001). 70 newborn infants participated. Calm infants cried in response to the tape-recorded crying of other infants. In addition, results show the following: (a) Crying infants continued to cry in response to the crying of another infant. (b) Crying infants who heard their own cry almost completely stopped crying. (c) Calm infants who heard their own cry made practically no response. (d) Calm infants simply ignored the cries of a chimpanzee and older child. It is concluded that these behaviors are peer and species specific. (27 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)