Human Empathy Through the Lens of Social Neuroscience

Jean Decety, Claus Lamm
2006 The Scientific World Journal  
Empathy is the ability to experience and understand what others feel without confusion between oneself and others. Knowing what someone else is feeling plays a fundamental role in interpersonal interactions. In this paper, we articulate evidence from social psychology and cognitive neuroscience, and argue that empathy involves both emotion sharing (bottom-up information processing) and executive control to regulate and modulate this experience (top-down information processing), underpinned by
more » ... ecific and interacting neural systems. Furthermore, awareness of a distinction between the experiences of the self and others constitutes a crucial aspect of empathy. We discuss data from recent behavioral and functional neuroimaging studies with an emphasis on the perception of pain in others, and highlight the role of different neural mechanisms that underpin the experience of empathy, including emotion sharing, perspective taking, and emotion regulation.
doi:10.1100/tsw.2006.221 pmid:16998603 pmcid:PMC5917291 fatcat:pyslxmkrijea3inmyku6hmprda