Dissociating the ability and propensity for empathy

C. Keysers, Valeria Gazzola

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Neuroimaging suggests psychopaths have reduced vicarious activations when simply witnessing pain but less so when asked to empathize. This inspired us to distinguish the ability from the propensity to empathize. We argue that (i) this ability-propensity distinction is crucial to characterizing empathy in psychiatric disorders such as psychopathy and autism, (ii) that costly helping might be best predicted by the propensity for empathy, and (iii) suggest how social neuroscientists can start exploring this distinction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-6
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Brain
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Empathy
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Motivation
  • Neuroimaging

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