A social-neuroscience perspective on empathy

Authors: Decety, Jean; Jackson, Philip L.
Abstract: In recent years, abundant evidence from behavioral and cognitive studies and functional-imaging experiments has indicated that individuals come to understand the emotional and affective states expressed by others with the help of the neural architecture that produces such states in themselves. Such a mechanism gives rise to shared representations, which constitutes one important aspect of empathy, although not the sole one. We suggest that other components, including people's ability to monitor and regulate cognitive and emotional processes to prevent confusion between self and other, are equally necessary parts of a functional model of empathy. We discuss data from recent functional-imaging studies in support of such a model and highlight the role of specific brain regions, notably the insula, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the right temporo-parietal region. Because this model assumes that empathy relies on dissociable information-processing mechanisms, it predicts a variety of structural or functional dysfunctions, depending on which mechanism is disrupted.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 1 April 2006
Open Access Date: Restricted access
Document version: VoR
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/8509
This document was published in: Current directions in psychological science, Vol. 15 (2), 54–58 (2006)
Cambridge University Press
Alternative version: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2006.00406.x
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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