Empathy is a concept central to psychiatry, psychotherapy and clinical psychology. The construct of empathy involves not only the affective. We question the assumption of the automaticity and propose a contextual approach, suggesting several modulatory factors that might influence empathic brain. Significance. Deficits in empathy for out-group members are pervasive, with negative societal impact. It is therefore important to ascertain.


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Shared neural representations, self-other awareness, mental flexibility and emotion empathic brain constitute the basic macro-components of empathy, which are empathic brain by specific and interacting neural systems. Consequently, empathy-related disorders may occur from dysfunction or disruption on each of these components.

We then discuss several psychopathological conditions, which share lack of empathy and demonstrate how they can be related to this framework.


What do we mean by empathy There is empathic brain overabundance empathic brain operational definitions of empathy. The construct of empathy denotes, at a phenomenological level of description, a sense of similarity between the feelings one experiences and those expressed by others [ 1 ].

It empathic brain be conceived of as an interaction between any two individuals, with empathic brain experiencing and sharing the feeling of the other. Yet, empathic is not a clear-cut expression. Specifically, empathy poses a paradox, as sharing of feelings does not necessarily imply that one will act or even feel impelled to act in a supportive or empathic brain way empathy's paradox is that this ability may be used for both helpful and hurtful purposes.

Empathy is a source of altruistic motivation, which under certain circumstances may produce behavior that might be judged moral but under other circumstances may produce behavior that might be judged immoral [ 2 ].

Moreover, the social and emotional situations eliciting empathy can become quite complex depending on the feelings experienced by the observed empathic brain the relationship of the target to the observer [ 3 ].

The caveats demonstrate that understanding others empathic brain experiencing their feelings manifests in relation to oneself, illustrating the social nature of the self, its inherent intersubjectivity.

Humans are indeed an intrinsically social and gregarious species. And virtually all empathic brain their actions including their thoughts, desires, and feelings are directed toward empathic brain are produced in response to others [ 4 ].

Our survival critically depends on social interactions with others.

The Empathic Brain: Christian Keysers: : Books

However, we are also reasoning beings with flexibility and reflexivity. This does not mean that basic emotion processing does not play a role. Rather, emotions are embedded in reasoning involving empathic brain appraisals.

Here we view empathy as a multidimensional construct to account for the sense empathic brain sharing and understanding the subjective experience of others. Thus empathy includes aspects of emotion communication, self-awareness and theory of mind.

The evolution of empathy Natural selection has fine-tuned the mechanisms that serve the specific demands of each species' ecology, and social behaviors are best understood in the context of evolution.

However, one needs to point out that the literature in comparative psychology and ethology is plagued by the same limitations as the human literature regarding the difficulty to clearly differentiate true empathic reactions from other emotional reactions such as personal distress. The phylogenic origin of behaviors associated with empathic brain engagement has been linked to the evolution of the autonomic nervous system and how it relates to emotion.

According to Porges[ 5 ], social approach or withdraw stem from the implicit computation of feelings of safety, discomfort, or potential danger.

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He proposed that the evolution of the autonomic nervous system sympathetic and parasympathetic systems provides a means to understand the adaptative significance of the mammalian affective processes including empathy and the establishment of lasting social bonds.

These basic evaluative systems are associated with motor responses that aid the adaptive responding of the organism. At this primitive level, appetitive and aversive behavioral responses are modulated by specific neural circuits in the brain that share common neuroarchitecture among mammals [ 6 ].

Empathic brain brain systems empathic brain genetically hard-wired to enable animals to respond unconditionally to threatening, or appetitive, stimuli using specific response patterns that are most adaptive to the particular species and environmental condition.

The Empathic Brain

The limbic system, which includes the hypothalamus, the parahippocampal cortex, the amygdala, and several interconnected areas septum, basal ganglia, nucleus accumbens, insula, retrospenial cingulate cortex and prefrontal cortex is primarily responsible for emotion empathic brain.

What unite these regions are their roles in motivation and emotion, mediated by connections with the autonomic system. The limbic system also projects to the cingulate and empathic brain cortices, which are involved with the regulation of emotion.

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