The Social Neuroscience of Empathy

MIT Press
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Cross-disciplinary, cutting-edge work on human empathy from the perspectives of social, cognitive, developmental and clinical psychology and cognitive/affective neuroscience.

In recent decades, empathy research has blossomed into a vibrant and multidisciplinary field of study. The social neuroscience approach to the subject is premised on the idea that studying empathy at multiple levels (biological, cognitive, and social) will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of how other people's thoughts and feelings can affect our own thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In these cutting-edge contributions, leading advocates of the multilevel approach view empathy from the perspectives of social, cognitive, developmental and clinical psychology and cognitive/affective neuroscience. Chapters include a critical examination of the various definitions of the empathy construct; surveys of major research traditions based on these differing views (including empathy as emotional contagion, as the projection of one's own thoughts and feelings, and as a fundamental aspect of social development); clinical and applied perspectives, including psychotherapy and the study of empathy for other people's pain; various neuroscience perspectives; and discussions of empathy's evolutionary and neuroanatomical histories, with a special focus on neuroanatomical continuities and differences across the phylogenetic spectrum. The new discipline of social neuroscience bridges disciplines and levels of analysis. In this volume, the contributors' state-of-the-art investigations of empathy from a social neuroscience perspective vividly illustrate the potential benefits of such cross-disciplinary integration.

Contributors
C. Daniel Batson, James Blair, Karina Blair, Jerold D. Bozarth, Anne Buysse, Susan F. Butler, Michael Carlin, C. Sue Carter, Kenneth D. Craig, Mirella Dapretto, Jean Decety, Mathias Dekeyser, Ap Dijksterhuis, Robert Elliott, Natalie D. Eggum, Nancy Eisenberg, Norma Deitch Feshbach, Seymour Feshbach, Liesbet Goubert, Leslie S. Greenberg, Elaine Hatfield, James Harris, William Ickes, Claus Lamm, Yen-Chi Le, Mia Leijssen, Abigail Marsh, Raymond S. Nickerson, Jennifer H. Pfeifer, Stephen W. Porges, Richard L. Rapson, Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory, Rick B. van Baaren, Matthijs L. van Leeuwen, Andries van der Leij, Jeanne C. Watson

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About the author

Jean Decety is Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Chicago. He is the editor of Empathy: From Bench to Bedside and coeditor of The Social Neuroscience of Empathy, both published by the MIT Press.

William Ickes is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas, Arlington.

C. Sue Carter is Professor of Psychiatry and Codirector of the Brain Body Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Raymond S. Nickerson is Senior Vice President of BBN Laboratories, a subsidiary of Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc.

Stephen W. Porges is Professor of Psychiatry, and Codirector of the Brain Body Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Additional Information

Publisher
MIT Press
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Published on
Jan 21, 2011
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780262293365
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / Neurology
Psychology / Emotions
Psychology / Neuropsychology
Psychology / Physiological Psychology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This volume is a comprehensive roadmap to the burgeoning area of affective sciences, which now spans several disciplines. The Handbook brings together, for the first time, the various strands of inquiry and latest research in the scientific study of the relationship between the mechanisms of the brain and the psychology of mind. In recent years, scientists have made considerable advances in understanding how brain processes shape emotions and are changed by human emotion. Drawing on a wide range of neuroimaging techniques, neuropsychological assessment, and clinical research, scientists are beginning to understand the biological mechanisms for emotions. As a result, researchers are gaining insight into such compelling questions as: How do people experience life emotionally? Why do people respond so differently to the same experiences? What can the face tell us about internal states? How does emotion in significant social relationships influence health? Are there basic emotions common to all humans? This volume brings together the most eminent scholars in the field to present, in sixty original chapters, the latest research and theories in the field. The book is divided into ten sections: Neuroscience; Autonomic Psychophysiology; Genetics and Development; Expression; Components of Emotion; Personality; Emotion and Social Processes; Adaptation, Culture, and Evolution; Emotion and Psychopathology; and Emotion and Health. This major new volume will be an invaluable resource for researchers that will define affective sciences for the next decade.
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