Different Perspectives on Empathy

Accident and Emergency Physician Dr Jock McKeen has spent a long time thinking about empathy. Empathy is the process of understanding another person’s mind. Here Dr McKeen discusses his profound insights which show that empathy is a multifaceted phenomenon which changes through the lifespan.

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3 thoughts on “Different Perspectives on Empathy

  1. psicologicaminima

    This is not at all what I know about empathy. Psychologists, in their well known common sense, use to give a strange interpretation of this particular concept. What I know about empathy comes from the study of Heidegger and the recent developments on mirror neurons. It’s not something related to development of higher and more sophisticated ways of understanding the other person through the long process of development. A new born child is as empathic as me or you, and that’s just because we all share the same condition of human being, made exactly how we are made…it’s constitutive of our nature! Sympathy, comprehension, compassion is then another story..that comes with experience..

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  2. Dr Justin Marley Post author

    Hi Thanks for the comments – sure sympathy and empathy are completely separate. There is evidence that empathy changes through the lifespan. The doll test is the test of empathy used for autism and this would typically be passed by children at a certain age. In frontotemporal Dementia empathy can be affected whilst other research shows that there is a peak empathy which is in the mid fifties but which differs between the genders Regards Justin

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  3. psicologicaminima

    I’ve been thinking, so far, about the doll test.
    Sally Anne test is used for valuate theory of mind in children, I know.
    But, is theory of mind the same construct of empathy? Is empathy a cognitive process?! Is there a difference between comprehension (in existential terms: the original openness of Dasein – the being-tuned) and explanation (cognitive process)?
    I’m obsessed about details.. By the way I understand simplifications
    Regards

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