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Self and Empathy

  • Lakshmi Kuchibhotla
  • Sangeetha Menon
Chapter

Abstract

Empathy is a process involving shared attitudes, sentiments and emotions which connects individuals to one another. Such connections often are building bridges toward a unified self and one’s well-being. Multiple perspectives which include psychology, sociocultural studies, cognitive science, neurobiology, neuroscience, literary narratives, and others aim to shed light on the nature and process of empathy. The emotional aspect of empathy involves being aware of and experiencing one’s feelings, while the cognitive aspect takes the perspective of the other. Empathy occupies a vast space that admits both self and the outside world. The quality of inclusiveness, of self and of the outside world is a crucial aspect in the development of the “human” potential. Empathy opens one to newer experiences and expands the space of the self incorporating several different points of view leading to reconfigurations of the self, which is not merely imitating but “becoming”. A strong sense of self is imminent to developing a psychological wealth of human potentials and skills. When one perceives the other in need, empathic emotion is aroused and this motivates the person to act in such a way that promotes the other’s welfare and improving one’s own psychological state and thus well-being. In this paper, we explain the architecture of the innate psychological experience of empathy and its implications for personal and social development.

Keywords

Mirror Neuron Perspective Taking Empathic Concern Mirror Neuron System Cognitive Empathy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of HumanitiesNational Institute of Advanced StudiesBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.School of HumanitiesNational Institute of Advanced StudiesBangaloreIndia

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