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(de Waal 2008)

"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. 
This definition extends beyond what exists in many animals, but the term “empathy” … applies even if only criterion (a) is met".

de Waal F.B.M. 2008. Putting the altruism back into altruism: the evolution of empathy. Annual Review of Psychology 59: 279-300.