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Understanding Other MindsPerspectives from developmental social neuroscience$
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Simon Baron-Cohen, Michael Lombardo, and Helen Tager-Flusberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692972

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692972.001.0001

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Understanding emotional and cognitive empathy

Understanding emotional and cognitive empathy

A neuropsychological perspective

(p.178) Chapter 11 Understanding emotional and cognitive empathy
Understanding Other Minds

Anat Perry

Simone Shamay-Tsoory

Oxford University Press

Empathy is a broad concept that refers to the cognitive as well as the emotional reactions of one individual to the observed experiences of another. Questions regarding how we understand others have intrigued psychologists and philosophers for centuries. In order to answer these questions, two major theories have been proposed, known as Theory Theory and Simulation Theory. In the past two decades, these questions have been re-examined by neuropsychologists and neuroscientists. This chapter reviews the different aspects of emotional and cognitive empathy in light of converging evidence from lesion patients, electrophysiology and neuroimaging studies. Neuropsychiatric disorders, such as Autism or Schizophrenia, although heterogeneous and difficult to study, have also been examined in relation to their deficits in cognitive and emotional empathy, and some of these new findings are discussed in this chapter. Lastly, we propose a model which relates brain mechanisms such as simulation or cognitive and affective ToM, to psychological processes, the empathic responses they lead to, and deficits which may occur when these mechanisms are disrupted.

Keywords:   Cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, Theory of Mind, mirror neurons, mentalizing, medial prefrontal cortex

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