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(Hodges 2007)

Hodges and Meyer (2007) three main components of emotional empathy.
  • The first is feeling the same emotion as another person (sometimes attributed to emotional contagion, e.g., unconsciously "catching" someone else's tears and feeling sad 
  • oneself). 
  • The second component, personal distress, refers to one's own feelings of distress in response to perceiving another's plight, which may or may not mirror the emotion that the other person is actually feeling. For example, one may feel distress, but not specifically depression, when another person says he or she is so depressed he or suicidal; similarly, one feels distress, but not actual pain, when one sees someone fall. 
  • The third emotional component, feeling compassion for another person, is the one most frequently associated with the study of empathy in psychology. It is often called empathic concern and sometimes sympathy.   (BUTTERS 2010)*

Hodges, S.D., & Myers, M.W. (2007). Empathy. Encyclopedia of Social Psychology, 1, 296-298.