Definitions Short


Basic Definition by Edwin Rutsch

Empathy is based on the personal experiencethat people have an ongoing moment to moment flow of feelings. We have an ongoing flow of feelings and bodily sensations such as: relaxation, tension, warm, cold, excitement, joy, anxiety, fear, sorrow, pain, anger, love, etc. etc.

We can sensitively be aware of and feel into our own personal flow of feelings (self-empathy) and feel into the flow of other peoples feelings. This process of feeling into is 'empathy'. The word was originally from the German word, 'Einfühlung', which means 'in feeling'.

Imaginative  Empathy
Another aspect of empathy is that we can imagine ourselves in any situation.  Like an actor we can imagine ourselves as another person, as an inanimate object, as ourselves in the future. Imagining ourselves in these other roles, we can sense what feelings arise in ourselves from taking on these roles. We call this imaginative empathy. 




Lists of definitions pages to incorporate

 


Shorter Definitions from Articles and Papers 


De-Escalate The Workbook
Douglas Noll.
"Empathy is the ability to recognize, label, and feed back the emotions another person is experiencing, Your empathic skills are directly dependent on your ability to feel your own feelings and identify them. If you have never felt a certain feeling, it will be hard for you to understand how another persons is feeling. This holds equally true for pleasure and pain."


Avoiding burnout: empathy v compassion
24 June 2019
 by CHRISTOPHE BERNEY
"EMPATHY and compassion are multifaceted, dynamic concepts that are often confused with each other as they are etymologically related. This perceived similarity and interchangeability is perhaps because their definitions have evolved differently depending on which disciplines (medicine, philosophy, psychology, counselling etc) refer to them, and is clearly demonstrated in the proposed umbrella term “compassionate empathy”."


1. Cognitive Empathy
    • I know what mental models you have
2. Emotional empathy
3. Empathic Concern
    • want to help people who are in distress.


What is Empathy?
greatergood.berkeley.edu
"The term “empathy” is used to describe a wide range of experiences. Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. Contemporary researchers often differentiate between two types of empathy: “Affective empathy” refers to the sensations and feelings we get in response to others’ emotions; this can include mirroring what that person is feeling, or just feeling stressed when we detect another’s fear or anxiety. “Cognitive empathy,” sometimes called “perspective taking,” refers to our ability to identify and understand other people’s emotions. Studies suggest that people with autism spectrum disorders have a hard time empathizing."


There Are Actually 3 Types of Empathy. Here's How They Differ--and How You Can Develop Them All
By Justin Bariso

"Cognitive empathy is the ability to understand how a person feels and what they might be thinking. Cognitive empathy makes us better communicators, because it helps us relay information in a way that best reaches the other person.

Emotional empathy (also known as affective empathy) is the ability to share the feelings of another person. Some have described it as "your pain in my heart." This type of empathy helps you build emotional connections with others.

Compassionate empathy (also known as empathic concern) goes beyond simply understanding others and sharing their feelings: it actually moves us to take action, to help however we can"



The 3 types of empathy you need to improve your business - Part I
Maiten Panella 

"The three types of empathy according to the Goleman model. Psychologists Daniel Goleman and Paul Ekman broke down the concept of empathy into the following three categories: Cognitive, Emotional and Compassionate. Let’s take a quick look at them:

Cognitive empathy: This refers to the ability to comprehend what a person might feel or think. It is like a channel of “information”.
It answers the question “What is the other person going through?”
For example, “Tom would like to speak with his supervisor about a possible promotion, but he seems to have difficulties in finding the right way to open up a conversation ” or “My clients have been asking for a direct channel of communication with my business; the Q&A page on my website does not seem to be enough for them”.

Emotional empathy: This refers to the ability to understand the feelings of another person through an emotional connection.
It answers the question “How does the other person feel?”
For example: “Tom feels his supervisor is not going to pay attention to his request, he feels intimidated and insecure and this is why he is delaying the conversation” or “My clients feel frustrated as they would like to have a direct channel of communication, with a real person and not a bot”.

Compassionate empathy: This is the third type, and goes far beyond the first two, as it involves action: if we understand and share the feelings of the other person,we can actually help.
It answers the question: “What can I do to help?”
For example, “I might help Tom to find ways to open up and be confident” or “I will implement a direct channel of communication on my website and a customer service line on Social Media”."





EMPATHY IS A SKILL. HERE’S HOW TO CULTIVATE IT
JUNE 10TH, 2019
BY MELISSA DE WITTE-STANFORD
(interview iwth Jamil Zaki)
"You run the Stanford Social Neuroscience Laboratory. What have you learned about empathy and the brain?

"One of the first things I documented with my work in neuroscience was the relationship between different types of empathy. 
  • Vicariously catching someone’s feelings—known as “emotional empathy”—
  • and thinking about what they feel—”cognitive empathy”—might seem like two sides of the same coin, 
but they activate almost entirely different brain systems, suggesting that these “pieces” of empathy are independent.

That said, brain areas associated with both cognitive and emotional empathy support important empathic outcomes—such as accurately gauging others’ emotions and deciding to help them..""



CBC Radio · Jun 07, 2019
Interviews Sara Konrath and Fritz Breithaupt

Sara Konrath gives a definition
Is about others and not about self. not just me feeling what you feel or walking in your shoes
  • cognitive empathy - it is me imagining your perspectives from your point of view.
  • emotional empathy - feeling care and concern and compassion for you is emotional empathy
Fritz Breithaupt
  • there is a form of empathy that is other directed. There are other forms of empathy that are much more selfish.  
  • empathy is the co experiencing of the situation of another. we can redirect empathy away from others to our own feelings. ie doctors getting burnout because they cannot channel  empathy in a healthy way.



Stanford scholar examines how to build empathy in an unjust world
 Jamil Zaki

One of the first things I documented with my work in neuroscience was the relationship between different types of empathy. 
  • Vicariously catching someone’s feelings – known as “emotional empathy” – 
  • and thinking about what they feel – “cognitive empathy” – might seem like two sides of the same coin, but they activate almost entirely different brain systems, suggesting that these “pieces” of empathy are independent. That said, brain areas associated with both cognitive and emotional empathy support important empathic outcomes – such as accurately gauging others’ emotions and deciding to help them.


Jane McGonigal, defines two different types of empathy and how we can practice being more empathetic to imagine a better future.

  • (Easy) Emotional Empathy
    you see someone doing something and your brain starts to emulate and simulate it. you feel what they are feeling in your mind and body. You have a little bit of the vicarious experience yourself. example. seeing happy.. doesn't lead to change
  • Hard) Cognitive empathy
    requires you to use your imagination. that you use to remember the past or imagine the future. linked to taking future action. behavior can change. leads to creativitiy.


Teaching empathy – is it possible?
NOVEMBER 2, 2018
By Chelsea Donaldson

"Three types of empathy: Although there are several theories and definitions of empathy, most of them describe three main types:

  • Emotional empathy: Physically feeling another person’s emotions. This involuntary response to another person’s feelings is difficult to “teach”, but can be modeled and discussed with students to help them understand the process and to apply it in more situations. (Similar terms include: affective empathy, reflexive empathy, physiological empathy, affective sharing, and emotional resonance)
  • Cognitive empathy or “perspective taking”: Putting yourself in another person’s shoes to “take their perspective” and see their point of view. Perspective taking is a voluntary, conscious skill that can be honed over time, and is the focus of Empatico’s activities. After students learn how to see a situation through another person’s perspective, it then becomes easier to understand how that person is feeling, in essence enhancing emotional empathy, as well.
  • Compassionate empathy or “empathic action”: This goes one step further in the empathy progression. After someone understands another person’s perspective (cognitive empathy) and feels what they’re feeling (emotional empathy), they may then feel the desire to help the person, which is compassionate empathy. This kindness to others can be modeled and practiced to show students what it means to help someone based on understanding their situation and feelings."




The present moment: Empathy
by Margaret Landale
"What is empathy?

At core empathy relates to our innate human capacity to attune to others. In counseling the attunement to our client’s emotional experiences and mental states is a vital aspect of the therapeutic alliance and relationship. Rogers defined empathy as the therapist’s ability “…to sense the (patient’s) private world as if it were your own, but without losing the ‘as if’ quality”. (2)

And Buber wrote: “The therapist must feel the other side, the patient’s side of the relationship, as a bodily touch to know how the patient feels.” (3)

The important factor here is that empathy does not so much rely on a cognitive or diagnostic understanding of our client’s presenting issues, but is a sensed and felt attunement to our client’s experience and their individual patterns of self-organisation and relating."




(Wiseman 1996 )Theresa Wiseman'
"Summary of defining attributes
  • 1 See the world as others see it
  • 2 Non-judgmental
  • 3 Understanding another feelings
  • 4 Communicate the understanding"


 

The way of being with another person which is termed empathic has several facets.

1. It means entering the private perceptual world of the other and becoming thoroughly at home in it. 

2. It involves being sensitive, moment to moment, to the changing felt meanings which flow in this other person, to the fear or rage or tenderness or confusion or whatever, that he/she is experiencing. 

3. It means temporarily living in his/her life, moving about in it delicately without making judgments, sensing meanings of which he/she is scarcely aware, but not trying to uncover feelings of which the person is totally unaware, since this would be too threatening. 

4. It includes communicating your sensings of his/her world as you look with fresh and unfrightened eyes at elements of which the individual is fearful. It means frequently checking with him/ her as to the accuracy of your sensings, and being guided by the responses you receive. 

5. You are a confident companion to the person in his/her inner world. By pointing to the possible meaning in the flow of his/her experiencing you help the person

a. to focus on this useful type of referent, 
b. to experience the meanings more fully, and 
c. to move forward in the experiencing.


Empathy is saying to someone: “I’m trying to be a companion to you in your search and your exploration. I want to know, am I with you? Is this the way it seems to you? Is this the thing you’re trying to express? Is this the meaning it has for you?” So in a sense I’m saying, “I’m walking with you step by step, and I want to make sure I am with you. Am I with you?” So that’s a little bit of my understanding about empathy."
 

“The state of empathy, or being empathic, is to perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person” 
Carl Rogers (1980 P140)

"To my mind, empathy is in itself a healing agent. It is one of the most potent aspects of therapy, because it releases, it confirms, it brings even the most frightened client into the human race. If a person is understood, he or she belongs." 
~ Carl Rogers

'Empathy is the listener's effort to hear the other person deeply, accurately, and non-judgmentally. Empathy involves skillful reflective listening that clarifies and amplifies the person’s own experiencing and meaning, without imposing the listener’s own material.' 
~ Carl Rogers (1951)





Marshall Rosenberg





8 Definitions of Empathy 
  (from The Social Neuroscience of Empathy, These Things Called Empathy
Daniel Batson)
"The term empathy is currently applied to more than a half-dozen phenomena.

1. Knowing another persons internal state, Including thoughts and feelings
2. Adopting the posture or matching the neural responses of an observed other
3. Coming to feel as another person feels
4. Intuiting or projecting oneself into another's situation
5. Imagining how another is thinking and feeling
6. Imagining how one would think and feel in the other's place
7. Feeling distress at witnessing another person's suffering
8. Feeling for another person who is suffering  (empathic concern)  An other-oriented emotional response elicited by and congruent with the perceived welfare of someone in need. Includes feeling sympathy, compassion, tenderness and the like (i.e. feeling for the other, and not feeling as the other)"

Daniel Batson

Empathy is about spontaneously and naturally tuning into the other person's thoughts and feelings, whatever these might be. There are two major elements to empathy. The first is the cognitive component: Understanding the others feelings and the ability to take their perspective [...] the second element to empathy is the affective component. This is an observer’s appropriate emotional response to another person's emotional state.
Simon Baron-Cohen (2003) 


In empathizing, we, while retaining fully the sense of our own distinct consciousness, enter actively and imaginatively into others’ inner states to understand how they experience their world and how they are feeling, reaching out to what we perceive as similar while accepting difference, and experiencing upon reflection our own resulting feelings, appropriate to our own situation as empathic observer, which may be virtually the same feelings or different but sympathetic to theirs, within a context in which we care to respect and acknowledge their human dignity and our shared humanity.
Felicity Laurence  (2007) 


Empathy is an automated response…that requires emotional engagement… Seeing another’s emotion arouses our own emotions, and from there we go on constructing a more advanced understanding of the other’s situation. Bodily connections comes first– understanding follows. [...] The capacity to
  • a) be affected by and share the emotional state of another,
  • b) assess the reasons for the other’s state, and
  • c) identify with the other, adopting his or her perspective.
Frans De Waal (2009) 



The art of imaginatively stepping into the shoes of another person, understanding their feelings and perspectives, and using that understanding to guide your actions.
Roman Krznaric 




Empathy is felt and reasoned simultaneously. It is a quantum experience…. Empathy allows us to stretch our sensibility with another so that we can cohere in larger social units. To empathize is to civilize. To civilize is to empathize.
Jeremy Rifkin (2010) 




"Empathy is defined as the tendency to be psychologically in tune with others’ feelings and perspectives (Decety & Lamm, 2006). This definition captures the widely accepted observation that empathic sensitivities are multi-dimensional in nature (Davis, 1994), comprised of distinct emotional (tendencies to feel concern and compassion for others)"
Differences in Empathic Concern and Perspective Taking Across 63 Countries, William J. Chopik, Ed O’Brien, and Sara H. Konrath


(Elliott + 2018)
"Definitions and Measures
There is no single, consensual definition of empathy (Bohart & Greenberg, 1997; Duan & Hill, 1996; Batson, 2009; Pedersen, 2009), a problem that has grown worse as interest in empathy has spread to other fields. We started by synthesizing a range of contemporary dictionary definitions to provide a list of essential features: 

  • 1. Empathy is interpersonal and unidirectional, provided by one person to another person. 
  • 2. Empathy is conceptualized primarily as an ability or capacity, and occasionally as an action. 
  • 3. Empathy involves a range of related mental abilities/actions, including 
    • a. Primarily: Understanding the other person’s feelings, perspectives, experiences, or motivations 
    • b.But also: Awareness of, appreciation of, or sensitivity to the other person 
    • c. Achieved via: Active entry into the other’s experience, described variously in terms of vicariousness, imagination, sharing or identification. 
Several features of this definition can be criticized, for example, that it portrays empathy in outmoded trait-like terms, that it ignores the role of the recipient, that it is too broad, and that it involves a mysterious or potentially misleading process of identification (cf. Bloom, 2016)."



Defining empathy
By Phil
"Empathy is a complex psychological phenomenon; today there are as many researchers acknowledging discrepancies in the use of the term, as there are inconsistent definitions. Within both psychological science and lacklustre media articles, the word “empathy” has been generalised to allude to a whole host of related, but fundamentally separable, positive social phenomena."




"Empathy is the ability to recognize and respond to the emotional states of other individuals,”  “It is an important psychological process that facilitates navigating social interactions and maintaining relationships, which are important for well-being.” 
("Genome-Wide Analyses of Self-Reported Empathy: Correlations with Autism, Schizophrenia, and Anorexia Nervosa”).




  1. Oxford Empathy Programme
What is empathy?
Empathy is a term which has proven difficult for academics to define to their satisfaction. Yet doctors, patients, and lay people do not seem to have any trouble understanding what they mean by empathy. The extent to which empathy is a communication skill, an inner experience of the counselor, or the client's perception is also controversial.

What remains uncontroversial in the literature we are aware of is that patient experience and patient outcomes seem to improve when they interact with 'empathetic' practitioners (either practitioners who are rated by patients as being empathetic or practitioners who have been trained to enhance their empathy).

SOURCES TO READ TO GET AN INTRODUCTION TO EMPATHY

Decety J (2014). Clinical Empathy From Bench to Bedside. Boston: The MIT Press.
Coplan A, Goldie P (2011). Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Oxford: OUP.

Jeffrey D (2016). Clarifying empathy: the first step to more humane care British Journal of General Practice;66:101-102.

Coulehan JL, Platt FW, Egener B, Frankel R, Lin CT, Lown B, et al. ‘Let me see if I have this right…’: Words that build empathy. Annals of Internal Medicine 2000;135(3):221–7.

Neumann M, Bensing J, Mercer S, Ernstmann N, Ommen O, Pfaff H. Analyzing the “nature” and “specific effectiveness” of clinical empathy: a theoretical overview and contribution towards a theory-based research agenda. Patient Education and Counseling 2009;74(3):339–46.

ETYMOLOGY
"When I use a word... a word about empathy" (2016) BMJ Blog about the recent history of empathy and its meaning by Jeffrey Aronson

DEFINITIONS.....
  •  "empathy is the phenomenon that connects otherwise isolated individuals "
  • (cf. Barrett-Lennard, 1997; Davis,1996) 
  • "the process by which we come to know other people."
  • "the term empathy has always conveyed the idea of knowing about the awareness of another, a capacity by which one person obtains knowledge of the subjective side of another person. "
  • " Stein (1917/1989) conceptualized empathy in more general terms: “Empathy...is the experience of foreign consciousness in general...This is how man grasps the psychic life of his fellow man” (p. 11)."

"…an observer's reacting emotionally because he perceives that another person is experiencing or is about to experience an emotion." - Ezra Stotland, 1969
Stotland, E. (1969). The psychology of hope. Jossey-Bass.


"…an attempt by one self-aware self to comprehend unjudgementally the positive and negative experiences of another self." - Lauren Wispe, 1986
Wispe, L. (1986). The distinction between sympathy and empathy: To call forth a concept, a word is needed.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50(2), 314-321.


"…an affective response more appropriate to someone else's situation that to one's own." - Martin Hoffman, 1987
Hoffman, M. L. (1987). The contribution of empathy to justice and moral judgement. In N. Eisenbert and J. Strayer (Eds.), Empathy and its development. New York: Cambridge University Press.


"As Hackney (1978) reports, the term "empathy" comes from the German Einfuhlung, which refers to aesthetic experiences in art forms: "The emotional watering of the eyes when listening to a powerful Bach movement or the feelings of majesty and simplicity when viewing a Michelangelo were described as empathic experiences.  They were emotional projections onto an object, event, or person" (p.35).

Literally, Einfuhlung refers to"'feeling into" in the sense that one "feels one's way into" a work of art (Kohn, 1990, p. I l4). In this context, empathy is clearly a subjective experience. Rogers'  approach is consistent with the original definition, in so far as he expresses empathy as an experiential construct. Empathy is viewed as the therapist's subjective experience of the client's internal world: 
 (Sharon Myers 1999), EMPATHY: IS THAT WHAT I HEAR YOU SAYING?


Affective  empathy -

Cognitive empathy -
Definition 1: You create a mental model or idea of what is going on with the other person.
Definition 2:  You take the other persons perspective. Do sort of a role play, what I would call imaginative empathy.  
Hodges and Myers say. “The first is feeling the same emotion as another person … The second component, personal distress, refers to one’s own feelings of distress in response to perceiving another’s plight … The third emotional component, feeling compassion for another person, is the one most frequently associated with the study of empathy in psychology,” they explain.


Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
Hodges and Myers 
Emotional and Cognitive Empathy
  1. “The first is feeling the same emotion as another person … 
  2. The second component, personal distress, refers to one’s own feelings of distress in response to perceiving another’s plight … 
  3. The third emotional component, feeling compassion for another person, is the one most frequently associated with the study of empathy in psychology,”







Definitions to Sort


(Albeiro 2009) p.393
“The tendency to vicariously experience other individuals’ emotional states...an emotional response that is focused moreon another person’s situation or emotion than on one’s one...[which] can be either identical to or congruent with that of the other person involved.”

(Barker 2008) p.141 
 “The act of perceiving, understanding, experiencing, and responding to the emotional state and ideas of another person.”

(Barnett + 2013) p.230
(A cognitive and emotional understanding of another’s experience, resulting in an emotional response that is congruent with a view that others are worthy of compassion and respect and have intrinsic worth.”

(Baron-Cohen + 2004)  p.168
“The drive or ability to attribute mental states to another person/animal, and entails an appropriate affective response in the observer to the other person’s mental state.”

(Batson + 2005 p.486
“An other oriented emotional response elicited by and congruent with the perceived welfare of someone else.”

(Batson + 1987 p.20
“The other-focused, congruent emotion produced by witnessing another person's suffering involves such feelings as sympathy, compassion, softheartedness, and tenderness.”

(Clark 2010 p.95 
“A way... to grasp the feelings and meanings of the client.”

(Cohen + 1996p.988
“The ability to understand and share in another’s emotional state or context.’’

(Colman 2009)   p.248
 “The capacity to understand and enter into another person’s feelings and emotions or to experience something from the
other person’s point of view.”

(Coplan 2011 p.40
“A complex imaginative process through which an observer simulates another person’s situated psychological states while 
maintaining clear self–other differentiation.”

(Davis 1983)   p.114
 “A reaction to the observed experiences of another.”

(Davis 1996 p.12
 “A set of constructs having to do with the responses of one individual to the experiences of another. These constructs specifically include the processes taking place within the observer and the affective and non-affective outcomes which result from those processes.”

(Decety + 2006)  p.1146
“A sense of similarity between the feelings one experiences and those expressed by others.”

(Decety + 2006 p.1146
 “The ability to experience and understand what others feel without confusion between oneself and others.”

(Decety + 2010) p.886
“The ability to appreciate the emotions of others with a minimal distinction between self and other.”

(Decety + 2007p.22
 “The capacity to share and understand emotional states of others in reference to oneself.”

(Dymond 1949 p.127
“The imaginative transposing of oneself into the thinking, feeling and acting of another and so structuring the world as he does.”

(Eisenberg +2006 p.647
“An affective response that stems from the comprehension of another’s emotional state or condition, which is identical or very similar to the other’s emotion, or what would be expected to feel.”

(Feshbach 1975 p.26
“A match between the affective responses of a perceiver and that of a stimulus person…. [definitions] must take into account both cognitive and affective factors.”

(Geer + 2000p.101
“The ability to perceive another person’s point-of-view, experience the emotions of another and behave compassionately.”

(Goldman +1993p.351
“A sort of “mimicking” of one person’s affective state by that of another.”

(Hein + 2008 p.154
 “An affective state, caused by sharing of the emotions or sensory states of another person.”

(Hoffman 2000 p.4
“An affective response more appropriate to another’s situation than one’s own.”

(Hogan 1969) p.308
“The act of constructing for oneself another's mental state.”

 (Ickes 1997,p.2
“A complex form of psychological inference in which observation, memory, knowledge, and reasoning are combined to yield insights into the thoughts and feelings of others.”

 (Johnson +1983p.1299
“The tendency to apprehend another person’s condition or state of mind.”

(Lazarus 1994p.287
“Sharing another’s feelings by placing oneself psychologically in that person’s circumstance.”

(Oliveira-Silva + 2011p.201
“The capacities to resonate with another person’s emotions, understand his/her thoughts and feelings, separate our own thoughts and emotions from those of the observed and responding with the appropriate prosocial and helpful behaviour.”

(Pavey + 2012 p.681
“The experience of sympathetic emotions and concern for another person in distress.”

(Pease 1995) p.202
“The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”

(Pelligra 2011), p.170
 “The ability to anticipate and share others’ emotional states.”

(Preston 2007) p.428) 
“A shared emotional experience occurring when one person (the subject) comes to feel a similar emotion to another (the object) as a result of perceiving the other’s state.”


(Preston +  2002 p.4
 “Subject’s state results from the attended perception of the object’s state’’

(Rogers 1975 p.2) 
“To perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person, but without ever losing the 'as if' condition.”

(Singer + 2009p.82) 
“An affective response to the directly perceived, imagined, or inferred feeling state of another being.”

(Singer + 2009 p.43)
 “A distinction between oneself and others and an awareness that one is vicariously feeling with someone but that this is not one’s own emotion.”

(Smith 1759, p.100) 
“An ability to understand another person’s perspective plus a visceral or emotional reaction.”

(Stocks + 2011 p.3
 “A category of emotional responses that are felt on behalf of others.”

(Stotland + 1978,p.12
 “An observer reacting emotionally because he perceives that another is experiencing or about to experience an emotion.”

(Titchener 1909)  Cited by Duan & Hill, 1996, p.261) 
“A process of humanizing objects, of reading or feeling ourselves into them.”

(Van der Weele 2011p.586
 “A basically passive process of information gathering.”

(Wispé 1986) p.318) 
The attempt by one self-aware self to comprehend unjudgmentally the positive and negative experiences of another self.”

(Zahavi 2008) p.517)
“A basic, irreducible, form of intentionality that is directed towards the experiences of others.”



Others Sort

Hume, David. 1739-40.
 Sympathy is a propensity…to receive by communication [another’s] inclinations and sentiments, however different from, or contrary to our own. [Hume uses the word “sympathy” in a way similar to “empathy.”]

Aquinas, Thomas. 1265-74. 
Mercy is the heartfelt sympathy for another’s distress, impelling us to succour him if we can. [Aquinas uses the word “sympathy” in a way similar to “empathy.”] 


Smith, A. 1759. 
Sympathy is a process that allows the minds of men to become mirrors to one another. [Smith uses the word “sympathy” in a way similar to “empathy.”] 


Schopenhauer, Arthur. 1840.
 In feeling compassion for another, I suffer directly with him, I feel his woe just as I ordinarily feel only my own; and, likewise, I directly desire his weal in the same way I otherwise desire my own…At every moment we remain clearly conscious that he is the sufferer, not we; and it is precisely in his person, not in our, that we feel the suffering, to our own grief and sorrow. We suffer with him and hence in him; we feel his pain as his, and do not imagine that it is ours. [Schopenhauer uses the word “compassion” in a way similar to “empathy.”] 


Lipps, T. 1903.
 The psychological state of imaginatively projecting oneself into another’s situation. [...] The felicitous enjoyment of the objectified self. 


Buber, Martin. 1923.
 The transposition of oneself into another being, thus losing one’s own concreteness. 


Titchener, E. 1924. 
The process of humanizing objects, of reading or feeling ourselves into them. 


Rogers, Carl R. 1959. 
To perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy, and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person, but without ever losing the ‘as if’ condition. 


Schafer, Roy. 1959. Empathy involves the inner experience of sharing in and comprehending the momentary psychological state of another person. 


Greenson, R. R. 1960. To empathize means to share, to experience the feelings of another person. 


Barrett-Lennard, Godfrey T. 1962. Qualitatively it is an active process of desiring to know the full, present and changing awareness of another person, of reaching out to receive his words and signs into experienced meaning that matches at least those aspects of his awareness that are most important to him at the moment. It is an experiencing of the consciousness behind another's outward communication, but with continuous awareness and this consciousness is originating and proceeding in the other. 


Stein, Edith. 1964. The experiences of being led by the foreign consciousness… and the givenness of foreign subjects and their experiences. 


Stotland, Ezra. 1969. An observer's reacting emotionally because he perceives that another person is experiencing or is about to experience an emotion. 


Haynes, L. A. & & Avery, A. W. 1979. The ability to recognize and understand another person’s perceptions and feelings, and to accurately convey that understanding through an accepting response. 


Kohut, Heinz, et al. 1984. The capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner life of another person. 


Wispe, Lauren. 1986. An attempt by one self-aware self to comprehend unjudgementally the positive and negative experiences of another self. 


Berger, D. M. 1987. The capacity to know emotionally what another is experiencing from within the frame of reference of that other person, the capacity to sample the feelings of another or to put oneself in another’s shoes. 


Deitch Feshbach, N. 1987. A shared emotional response that is contingent upon cognitive factors. Hoffman, Martin 1987. An affective response more appropriate to another’s situation than one’s own. 


Eisenberg, Nancy & Fabes, R.A. 1990. An affective response that stems from the apprehension or comprehension of another’s emotional state or condition, and that is similar to what the other person is feeling or would be expected to feel. 


Kohn, A. 1990. The inclination to imagine life as the other, rather than discrete experiences of the other. 


Rosenberg, Marshall. 1990. A respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. 


Spiro, H. S. 1992. The feeling that persons or objects arouse in us as projections of our feelings and thoughts. It is evident when “I and you” becomes “I am you,” or at least “I might be. Goldman, Alvin. 1993. The ability to put oneself into the mental shoes of another person to understand her emotions and feelings. 


Batson, Daniel. 1994. A motivation oriented towards the other. 


Gallo, D. 1994. A condition with both a cognitive and affective dimension, it includes the ability accurately to perceive and comprehend the thoughts, feelings and motives of the other to the degree that one can make inferences and predictions consonant with those of the other, while remaining oneself. 


Batson et al. 1997. An other-oriented emotional response congruent with another’s perceived welfare. 


Darwall, S. 1997. Involves something like a sharing of the other’s mental states, frequently, as from her standpoint. 


Ickes, William. 1997. A complex form of psychological inference in which observation, memory, knowledge, and reasoning are combined to yield insights into the thoughts and feelings of others. 


Sherman, N. 1998. Empathy enables us to enter another’s world sufficiently to identify with that person so that other emotions, such as compassion or pity, have a chance to grab hold… Through an act of imagination and simulation we appreciate, however fleetingly, something of what another experiences, sees, fears, and desires. We recenter ourselves on that other, seeing through his or her eyes. 


Toranzo, N. C. 1998. A multidimensional construct that involves the dynamic interplay of perception, social cognition, and affect. 


D'Arms, Justin. 1999. Empathy means someone is being influenced by mechanisms "that tend to influence the emotional reactions of one person– ‘the observer’– so as to produce a match (roughly, some sort of congruence) between these emotions and those of another person [the ‘model’].” 


H.H. The Dalai Lama. 1999. Our ability to enter into and, to some extent, share others’ suffering. Ignatieff, M. 1999. The human capability of imagining the pain and degradation done to other human beings as if it were our own. 


Goodman, D. 2000. Identifying with the situation and feelings of another person. The capacity to share in the emotional life of another, as well as the ability to imagine the way the world looks from another’s vantage point. 


Eisenberg, N. 2002. Empathy is considered a mirroring or vicarious experience of another's emotions, whether they be sorrow or joy. 


Schwartz, Wynn. 2002. We recognize others as empathic when we feel that they have accurately acted on or somehow acknowledged in stated or unstated fashion our values or motivations, our knowledge, and our skills or competence, but especially as they appear to recognize the significance of our actions in a manner that we can tolerate their being recognized. 


Arnold, R. 2003. An ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of self and others… a sophisticated ability involving attunement, decentring and introspection: an act of thoughtful, heartfelt imagination. 


Baron-Cohen, Simon. 2003. Empathy is about spontaneously and naturally tuning into the other person's thoughts and feelings, whatever these might be. There are two major elements to empathy. The first is the cognitive component: Understanding the others feelings and the ability to take their perspective [...] the second element to empathy is the affective component. This is an observer’s appropriate emotional response to another person's emotional state. 


Phillips, L. C. 2003. Together, the qualities of care within the experiences of identification and imagination create empathy. 


Rosenberg, Marshall. 2003. Empathy, I would say, is presence. Pure presence to what is alive in a person at this moment, bringing nothing in from the past. 


Decety, Jean. 2004. A sense of similarity in feelings experienced by the self and the other, without confusion between the two individuals. 


Kristjánsson, K. 2004. Sometimes, ‘to empathize with someone’ means having the capacity to discern/understand another’s psychological states… In another and stronger sense, however, ‘to empathize with someone’ means identifying with another’s emotional set-up… In other words, the empathizer has the relevant feelings; he does not merely discern them or imagine what they would feel like. 


Pink, D. H. 2004. The ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s position and to intuit what that person is feeling. 


Gordon, M. 2005. The ability to identify and to respond appropriately to the feelings and perspectives of others. 


Lampert, Khen. 2005. Empathy is what happens to us when we leave our own bodies... and find ourselves either momentarily or for a longer period of time in the mind of the other. We observe reality through her eyes, feel her emotions, share in her pain. 


Louie, B. 2005. An other-oriented perspective congruent with another’s sociocultural values, political ideology, and historical context. 


Schonert-Reichl, K. A. 2005. An individual’s emotional responsiveness to the emotional experiences of another. 


Goleman, D. 2006. Sensing another’s emotions... In today’s psychology, the word ‘empathy’ is used in three distinct senses: knowing another person’s feelings; feeling what that person feels; and responding compassionately to another’s distress. 


Laurence, Felicity. 2007. In empathizing, we, while retaining fully the sense of our own distinct consciousness, enter actively and imaginatively into others’ inner states to understand how they experience their world and how they are feeling, reaching out to what we perceive as similar while accepting difference, and experiencing upon reflection our own resulting feelings, appropriate to our own situation as empathic observer, which may be virtually the same feelings or different but sympathetic to theirs, within a context in which we care to respect and acknowledge their human dignity and our shared humanity. 


Schertz, Matthe Victor. 2007. The mediation of emotional information involving systemic communicative processes operating between relational subjects. 


Blair, R. J. R. & Karina S. Blair. 2009. There are at least three classes of processing, at least partially separable at both the neural and cognitive levels, that can be described as empathy… emotional, cognitive (also known as theory of mind), and motor empathy (where the body postures of others mimic those of the observed individual). 


De Waal, F. 2009. Empathy is an automated response…that requires emotional engagement… Seeing another’s emotion arouses our own emotions, and from there we go on constructing a more advanced understanding of the other’s situation. Bodily connections comes first– understanding follows. [...] The capacity to a) be affected by and share the emotional state of another, b) assess the reasons for the other’s state, and c) identify with the other, adopting his or her perspective. 


Goubert, L. et al. 2009. A sense of knowing the personal experience of another person… a cognitive appreciation that is accompanied by both affective and behavioral responses. 


Hatfield, E. et al. 2009. True empathy requires three distinct skills: the ability to share the other person’s feelings, the cognitive ability to intuit what another person is feeling, and a ‘socially beneficial’ intention to respond compassionately to that person’s distress. 


Slote, J. D. 2009. Involves having the feelings of another (involuntarily) aroused in ourselves, as when we see one another. 


Trout, J. D. 2009. Empathy is the capacity to accurately understand the position of others – to feel that ‘this could happen to me.’ 


Watson, J.C. & Greenberg, L. S. 2009. A complex form of psychological inference that enables us to understand the personal experiences of another person through cognitive, evaluative and affective processes. 


Nussbaum, Martha. 2010. A capacity for ‘positional thinking,’ the ability to see the world from another creature’s viewpoint. 


Rifkin, J. 2010. Empathy is felt and reasoned simultaneously. It is a quantum experience…. Empathy allows us to stretch our sensibility with another so that we can cohere in larger social units. To empathize is to civilize. To civilize is to empathize. 


Engelen, Eva-Maria & Birgitt Röttger-Rössler. 2012. A social feeling that consists in feelingly grasping or retracing the present, future, or past emotional state of the other; thus, empathy is also called a vicarious emotion. 


Battarbee, Katja, Jane Fulton Suri & Suzanne Gibbs Howard. 2014, The ability to be aware of, understanding of, and sensitive to another person’s feelings and thoughts without having had the same experience. 


Houkom , In popular usage the idea refers to the emotional resonance between two people, when, like strings tuned to the same frequency, each responds in perfect sympathy to the other and each reinforces the responses of the other. A good example of this occurs in the statement: "Aleatoric concert music, like jazz, demands a strong empathy between performer and listener." 



(Iannotti, 1975, p 22)
"Empathy in its broadest sense refers to the responsiveness of an individual to the feelings of another person" 

 (Dinkmeyer and Sperry 2000)
"empathy is best defined as the communication of understanding"


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