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(McDonald 2011)

The Development of Empathy: How, When, and Why 

Authors: Nicole M. McDonald & Daniel S. Messinger 

McDonald, N., & Messinger, D. (2011). The development of empathy: How, when, and why. In A. Acerbi, J. A. Lombo, & J. J.Sanguineti (Eds), Free will, Emotions, and Moral Actions: Philosophy and Neuroscience in Dialogue. IF-Press.

"Empathy is a potential psychological motivator for helping others in distress. Empathy can be defined as the ability to feel or imagine another person’s emotional experience. The ability to empathize is an important part of social and emotional development, affecting an individual’s behavior toward others and the quality of social relationships. In this chapter, we begin by
  •  describing the development of empathy in children as they move toward becoming empathic adults. 
  • We then discuss biological and environmental processes that facilitate the development of empathy. 
  • Next, we discuss important social outcomes associated with empathic ability.
  •  Finally, we describe atypical empathy development, exploring the disorders of autism and psychopathy in an attempt to learn about the consequences of not having an intact ability to empathize."