• Tia Hoffer
  • Holly Hargreaves-Cormany
  • Yvonne Muirhead
  • J Reid Meloy
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Psychology book series (BRIEFSPSYCHOL)


The section and subsection focused on empathy provide a general definition of empathy and the importance of empathy on the healthy social and emotional development of children. Empathy has been important in the field of forensic psychology as a way to better understand offender motivations and offender typologies. The Perceptual Action Model is presented to explain the multilayered aspect of empathy and the emotional contagion of empathy as it grows. Meloy indicates that tactical empathy is a heightened observational skill he calls “predatory acuity.” The attachment and empathy section further discusses these constructs. It is pointed out by McPhedran that sometimes there is too much emphasis placed on empathy as the central reason for animal cruelty.


Empathy Forensic psychology Parental bonds Perception action mechanism Russian doll model Emotional contagion Moral behavior Tactical empathy Predatory acuity Secure attachment Parental care Prosocial behavior Antisocial behavior Callous behaviors Animal cruelty Humane treatment 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) under exclusive licence to Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tia Hoffer
    • 1
  • Holly Hargreaves-Cormany
    • 2
  • Yvonne Muirhead
    • 3
  • J Reid Meloy
    • 4
  1. 1.Federal Bureau of InvestigationKapoleiUSA
  2. 2.Marymount UniversityArlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Federal Bureau of InvestigationSan AntonioUSA
  4. 4.University of CaliforniaLa JollaUSA

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