Dissociable Systems for Empathy

  1. Greg Bock Organizer and
  2. Jamie Goode
  1. R. J. R. Blair

Published Online: 7 OCT 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470030585.ch10

Empathy and Fairness: Novartis Foundation Symposium 278

Empathy and Fairness: Novartis Foundation Symposium 278

How to Cite

Blair, R. J. R. (2006) Dissociable Systems for Empathy, in Empathy and Fairness: Novartis Foundation Symposium 278 (eds G. Bock and J. Goode), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470030585.ch10

Author Information

  1. Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Heath, Department of Health and Human Services, 15K North Drive, Room 206, MSC 2670, Bethesda, MD 20892–2670, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 7 OCT 2008
  2. Published Print: 31 OCT 2006

Book Series:

  1. Novartis Foundation Symposia

Book Series Editors:

  1. Novartis Foundation

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470026267

Online ISBN: 9780470030585

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Keywords:

  • empathy and partially dissociable neurocognitive systems;
  • facial expressions of emotion;
  • emotional expressions and social response reversal (SRR);
  • dissociable systems for empathy;
  • theory of mind [ToM]

Summary

Empathy is a lay term that is becoming increasingly used in the field of cognitive neuroscience. In this paper, it is argued that empathy is a loose collection of partially dissociable neurocognitive systems. Two forms of ‘emotional’ empathy were considered: First, responding to emotional expressions, particularly angry expressions, leading to response reversal. Secondly, responding to emotional expressions, particularly fearful and sad expressions, leading to stimulus–reinforcement learning. The implications of these forms of empathy for understanding specific psychiatric conditions are briefly considered.