A developmental perspective on the neural bases of human empathy

Authors: Tousignant, BéatriceEugène, FannyJackson, Philip L.
Abstract: While empathy has been widely studied in philosophical and psychological literatures, recent advances in social neuroscience have shed light on the neural correlates of this complex interpersonal phenomenon. In this review, we provide an overview of brain imaging studies that have investigated the neural substrates of human empathy. Based on existing models of the functional architecture of empathy, we review evidence of the neural underpinnings of each main component, as well as their development from infancy. Although early precursors of affective sharing and self-other distinction appear to be present from birth, recent findings also suggest that even higher-order components of empathy such as perspective-taking and emotion regulation demonstrate signs of development during infancy. This merging of developmental and social neuroscience literature thus supports the view that ontogenic development of empathy is rooted in early infancy, well before the emergence of verbal abilities. With age, the refinement of top-down mechanisms may foster more appropriate empathic responses, thus promoting greater altruistic motivation and prosocial behaviors.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 17 March 2016
Open Access Date: Restricted access
Document version: VoR
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/9168
This document was published in: Infant behavior & development, (2016)
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2015.11.006
Elsevier
Alternative version: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2015.11.006
26995647
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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