Dan Batson

These Things Called Empathy: Eight Related but Distinct Phenomena
By Dan Batson
A paper on 8 different ways the word empathy is uses.

"Students of empathy can seem a cantankerous lot. Although they typically agree that empathy is important, they often disagree about why it is important, about what effects it has, about where it comes from, and even about what it is. The term empathy is currently applied to more than a half-dozen phenomena.

These phenomena are related to one another, but they are not elements, aspects, facets, or components of a single thing that is empathy, as one might say that an attitude has cognitive, affective, and behavioral components. Rather, each is a conceptually distinct, stand-alone psychological state. Further, each of those states has been called by names other than empathy. Opportunities for disagreement abound. "

"The term empathy is currently applied to more than a half-dozen phenomena.

  1. Knowing another persons internal state, Including thoughts and feelings

  2. Adopting the posture or matching the neural responses of an observed other

  3. Coming to feel as another person feels

  4. Intuiting or projecting oneself into another's situation

  5. Imagining how another is thinking and feeling

  6. Imagining how one would think and feel in the other's place

  7. Feeling distress at witnessing another person's suffering

  8. Feeling for another person who is suffering (empathic concern) An other-oriented emotional response elicited by and congruent with the perceived welfare of someone in need. Includes feeling sympathy, compassion, tenderness and the like (i.e. feeling for the other, and not feeling as the other)"