Empathy is a highly rare and useful power.

Ability to:

Mimic energies from anything, And convert them into other forms of energies.

Possessed By:


Elemental Connection:


Empathy, Sympathy, Tripathy, Or mostly known as Nature Reading Is the metaphysical ability to read or absorb emotions, traits, characteristics, information, and emotive energies from any living organism.


The user can pick up and read a life force or life form's emotions and traits or feelings. This ability is very useful for when it comes to knowing someone better, powerful empaths can look at someone and tell if they are a rapist, killer, murderer, or terrorist,  and any other emotive personality trait. A powerful empath can also sense people from miles away, even countries away.  If empathy is combined with Oneiromancy then the ability can turn into Vaspathy or Sympathy -> and become the ability to track or cause emotional death. An empath can pick up somewhat part Telepathic signals from humans, animals, creatures, and even insects or small animals etc.  An empath, can search for clues or personal traits etc by putting their hands on the subject's body, mainly chest-heart, or head-brain, or anywhere on the body. An empath with strong energy can develop Telesthesia to be able to redirect or send emotions.

Types Of Empaths:Edit

  • Empathy/Nature Reading: To feel and read emotions,traits,characteristics and other information from all life
  • Shamenpathy: An empath which can detect magical energies using empathy
  • Travenpathy: An empath which can detect people on their tracks
  • Universapathy: An empath in which can feel the worlds energies
  • Mediumpathy: An empath that can feel the presence of ghosts and read their energies
  • Hippies: Empaths that use there powers to channel love throughout others.
  • Mimics: Empaths that duplicate abilities
  • Tripaths: All types


Nature Reading

Nature Reading, Or Omni-Empathy Is the ability to read the feelings and energies over any naturistic form of life or molecule. This is used to determin illnessess, or absorb mother nature into your body to use as an empathic unit conductor, one can read natures most valuable properties and gain large ammounts of information from organic or omniganic life.

Empathic Power, also called Empathic Force or Empathic Influence is the psychic ability to affect nature and one’s surroundings based on one’s emotions. The user may have Empathic Darkness, which quells light’s intensity whenever one feels intense negative emotion, or may make darken lit areas wherever the user goes (does not allow control of darkness); they may have Empathic Gravitation which changes gravity in one’s surroundings whenever one feels certain emotions (good emotion decreases gravity, and bad emotion increases it) or the like. This ability may be accompanied by an Elemental Sense.

• This ability may even entail the presence of a storm cloud that hovers above-head and reacts to the user’s emotions; it appears when the user feels negative emotion, rains when he feels sad, shoots lightning when he is angry, disperses when the user is happy, and the like (called an Empathic Storm Cloud).

  • Note: This ability causes empathic power to only affect natural elements or biotic subjects (no artificial materials like plastic, glass or artificial chemical elements, and not undead). Sometimes, Empathic Power will just affect the element that is most prevalent in one’s current surroundings (sand in the desert, water in the ocean, plants or animals in the forest). This ability never produces a controlled effect (it may only be brought about by certain emotions), and so it is not the same as the ability Naturespeak or Elemental Manipulation.
  • Note: Empathic Gravitation, if untrained, may also induce gravitation between the user and a person with whom he has a positive empathic connection.

Empathic Resonance

Empathic Resonance, also called Empathic Charm or Empathic Charisma is the ability to psychically establish an empathic link with any subject(s); parties involved can understand each other and become friends or allies almost instantly. The established empathic link is harmless (it may only last as long as needed), but it makes the user nearly incapable of making enemies (unless the ability is suppressed, or the user tries to use it on a perspicuous mind). In some cases, if foes try to strike the user, even complete strangers would come to the user’s defense.

Empathic Absorbtion

Absorb emotions and energies around you.

Fear Sense

Fear Sense, also called Fear Sensing or Fear/Phobia Perception is a variation of Empathy, in which the user can only perceive doubt, fear and phobia. The user can either only tell if a subject is afraid (the intensity of the fear, etc.), or they can actually intuit things that subjects are afraid of (the last, of course, being most beneficial). One with this ability can use it to easily unnerve opponents, or properly interact with subjects, because they also know how to act to prevent aversion (or perhaps even to perceive presences by sensing traces of fear), and the like. This ability may accompany Phobic Vampirism.

Musical Empathic Projection

Musical Empathic Projection is the psychic ability to project emotions based on the songs one hears. One with this ability listens to a song, and whatever emotion that song conveys, that emotion can be projected onto the subject. This ability can make masses of subjects lovesick, depressed, angry, overly-happy, or the like. Not to mention, it also psychically connects the subject’s feelings to the song, so they want to hear it more, and when they can no longer hear it, their emotions temporarily short-circuit (the subjects go numb).

Telepathic Empathy

Telepathic Empathy is the ability to perceive emotions, but with the emotions expressed as though they were thoughts. One with this ability can read emotions of any kind, like a normal empath, but they must be expressed through verbal thought wave manifestations (the subject must think something like “I’m so mad!” or “I can’t believe she did that!”). The user can project emotions in the same fashion; instead of projecting emotions (like normal Empathy) the user can project thoughts which convey a certain emotion, and the like.


Telempathy, also called Tele-Empathy is the psychic ability to communicate with another subject via emotion instead of by thought. One with this ability could convey the same messages as one with the power Telepathy (including changing a subject’s mind by associating a certain emotion with a certain idea or opinion, receiving/transmitting emotions to communicate, overloading foes with emotions instead of thoughts, etc.), except the message is a bit more vague. This ability may be accompanied by normal Empathy.

Twin Empathy

Twin Empathy is the emotional connection between twin siblings. One with this ability can empathically sense when their twin is in danger, how their twin is feeling, and can channel any sensations and emotions that their twin is feeling, along with all of the other faculties that go along with empathic connection (like their abilities). The user however, may also feel the pains if their sibling is hurt (and might even die if their sibling dies).


Apathy, also known as Empathic Negation, is the ability to supress emotions. Doing so can make one think logically and do things no one else would do, however at the same time it can also make one heartless and indifferent.

Other Abilities:Edit


The English word is derived from the Greek word ἐμπάθεια (empatheia), "physical affection, passion, partiality" which comes from ἐν (en), "in, at" + πάθος (pathos), "passion" or "suffering"[1]. The term was adapted by Rudolf Lotze and Robert Vischer to create the German word Einfühlung ("feeling into"), which was translated by Edward B. Titchener into the English term empathy.[2]

Alexithymia from the Ancient Greek words λέξις (lexis) and θύμος (thumos) modified by an alpha-privative—literally "without words for emotions"—is a term to describe a state of deficiency in understanding, processing, or describing emotions in oneself.[3][4]


  • Empathic Field Defense: Empathy can manifest as anger or sending powerful emotions to others in a number of defensive ways.
    • Cloak Mind: The ability to rearrange the mental engrams of mutants so their distinctive mutant thought patterns cannot be detected by Cerebro-type devises or by other telepaths.
    • Psionic Shield: The ability to erect a psychic shield for protection of himself and other minds.
    • Psychic Shadow: The ability to mask oneself, and other peoples' presence, from those within a certain are. A telepath can also disguise themself, making their appearance similar to that of a shadow.
    • Telesthesic Cloak: The ability to telesthesicly mask one's presence and the use of his/her abilities from being detected by other mutants and psychic entities. These defenses can be extended to others around them as well. Cloaking via telepathy is not perfect and powerful telepathic mutants may notice and 'see' through this ability.
  • Empathic Shadow: The ability to create realistic Emotional illusions and cause people to experience events which are not actually occurring.
  • Empathic Detection: The ability to detect anyone with powers,abilities, and area scanning.
  • Empathic Blasts/Bolts: The ability to create a powerful empathic blast to emotionally drive someone mentally ill,insane or cause so much depression to pass out, maybe even die.
    • Empathic Camouflage: The ability to alter the apparent physical appearance of oneself and others by altering the perceptions of those around them. This can go so far as to make other people believe that the camouflaged people are not there (invisible). The only limit to this ability, if one exists, is only imposed by the number of people an empath is trying to fool, not the number of people an empath is actually camouflaging.
  • Sympathic Manipulation: The ability to manipulate other people's Emotive Sympies easily, achieving a variety of effects.
    • Absorb Information: The ability to quickly process and store information, by mental transference.
    • Dark Psyche: The ability to release the dark side of a person's personality, and make them evil.
    • Dilate Power: The ability to place “psychic inhibitors” in the minds of mutant adversaries to prevent them from using their powers.
    • Download Emotive Energy: The ability to place large amounts of emp energies into ones emp bank.
    • Heal Trauma: The ability to erase a person’s memories and to heal mental trauma through “psychic surgery,” the power to stimulate or deaden the pain and pleasure centers in a person's brain.
    • Induce Pain: The ability to induce mental pain merely by touching the brow of the victim.
    • Intuitive Multilingual: The ability to intuitively translating new traits.
    • Mass Manipulation: The ability to subtly use deep influence upon multiple people, allowing a telethesiast to manipulate their perceptions, better judgment, wills and common sense.
    • Mental Amnesia: The ability to erase any awareness of particular memories or cause total amnesia using a powerful crazed emotion.
    • Mental Detection: The ability to sense the presence of another superhuman mutant within a small but as yet undefined radius of oneself by perceiving the distinctive mental radiations emitted by such a being.
    • Mental Empathic Paralysis: The ability to induce temporary mental or physical paralysis.
    • Mental Empathic Sedating: The ability to empathicly "sedate" one's victims so that, if already rendered unconscious, they remain so for as long as an empath continues to "sedate" them.
    • Empathic Alteration: The ability to alter the minds of others by sheer force of will, permanently changing their personality either partially or entirely.
    • Emotional Control: The ability to control the emotions and traits of others.
    • Empathic Link: The ability to develop a mental link with any person, which remains as a connection to that individual long after the link itself is broken.
    • Empathic Transferal: The ability to transfer both the mind and powers of the user into other host bodies should their own physical body somehow be killed.
    • Neural Jumpstart: The ability to increase the speed of neural signals in the emotions of others, allowing him/her to increase another mutant's powers to incredible levels, but the effect is only temporary.
    • Empathic Possession: The ability to alter someones emotions into a powerful state where they have no choice but to use their powers,or actions.
    • Psionic Empathic Blasts: The ability to project psionic force bolts which have no physical effects but which can affect a victim's mind so as to cause the victim pain or unconsciousness and can even kill an adversary.
    • Psionic Siphoning: The ability to siphon the psychic energies from other psionic mutants. The stolen psychic energy can be used to either boost one's own powers or channel the energy into someone else to temporarily increase their psionic abilities.
    • Empathic Tracking: Enhanced psionic senses enable an empath to detect and track other sentient beings by their unique psionic emotive waves (thought patterns contained in the psionic portion of the spectrum), especially if they pose a threat to one's well-being in their immediate vicinity.==
      Empathic cloak

      When an empath touches one another the energy is turned into empathic energy as their aura turns colours of the emotion.


[edit] Theorists and their definitionsEdit

Empathy is an ability with many different definitions. They cover a broad spectrum, ranging from feeling a concern for other people that creates a desire to help them, experiencing emotions that match another person's emotions, knowing what the other person is thinking or feeling, to blurring the line between self and other.[5] Below is a list of various definitions of empathy:

  • Daniel Batson: A motivation oriented towards the other.[6]
  • D. M. Berger: The capacity to know emotionally what another is experiencing from within the frame of reference of that other person, the capacity to sample the feelings of another or to put one's self in another's shoes.[7]
  • Jean Decety: A sense of similarity in feelings experienced by the self and the other, without confusion between the two individuals.[8][9]
  • Nancy Eisenberg: An affective response that stems from the apprehension or comprehension of another's emotional state or condition, and that is similar to what the other person is feeling or would be expected to feel.[10]
  • R. R. Greenson: To empathize means to share, to experience the feelings of another person.[11]
  • Alvin Goldman: The ability to put oneself into the mental shoes of another person to understand her emotions and feelings.[12]
  • Martin Hoffman: An affective response more appropriate to another's situation than one's own.[13]
  • William Ickes: A complex form of psychological inference in which observation, memory, knowledge, and reasoning are combined to yield insights into the thoughts and feelings of others.[14]
  • Heinz Kohut: Empathy is the capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner life of another person.[15]
  • Carl Rogers: To perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person, but without ever losing the "as if" condition. Thus, it means to sense the hurt or the pleasure of another as he senses it and to perceive the causes thereof as he perceives them, but without ever losing the recognition that it is as if I were hurt or pleased and so forth.[16]
  • Roy Schafer: Empathy involves the inner experience of sharing in and comprehending the momentary psychological state of another person.[17]
  • Wynn Schwartz: We recognize others as empathic when we feel that they have accurately acted on or somehow acknowledged in stated or unstated fashion our values or motivations, our knowledge, and our skills or competence, but especially as they appear to recognize the significance of our actions in a manner that we can tolerate their being recognized.[18]
  • Edith Stein: Empathy is the experience of foreign consciousness in general.[19]
  • Simon Baron-Cohen (2003): Empathy is about spontaneously and naturally tuning into the other person's thoughts and feelings, whatever these might be [...]There are two major elements to empathy. The first is the cognitive component: Understanding the others feelings and the ability to take their perspective [...] the second element to empathy is the affective component. This is an observer's appropriate emotional response to another person's emotional state.[20]
  • Khen Lampert (2005): "[Empathy] is what happens to us when we leave our own bodies...and find ourselves either momentarily or for a longer period of time in the mind of the other. We observe reality through her eyes, feel her emotions, share in her pain."[21]

Since empathy involves understanding the emotional states of other people, the way it is characterized is derivative of the way emotions themselves are characterized. If, for example, emotions are taken to be centrally characterized by bodily feelings, then grasping the bodily feelings of another will be central to empathy. On the other hand, if emotions are more centrally characterized by a combination of beliefs and desires, then grasping these beliefs and desires will be more essential to empathy. The ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated imaginative process. However the basic capacity to recognize emotions is probably innate and may be achieved unconsciously. Yet it can be trained, and achieved with various degrees of intensity or accuracy.

The human capacity to recognize the bodily feelings of another is related to one's imitative capacities, and seems to be grounded in the innate capacity to associate the bodily movements and facial expressions one sees in another with the proprioceptive feelings of producing those corresponding movements or expressions oneself.[22] Humans also seem to make the same immediate connection between the tone of voice and other vocal expressions and inner feeling. See neurological basis below.[23]

[edit] Contrast with other phenomenaEdit

Empathy is distinct from sympathy,[clarification needed] pity, and emotional contagion.[24] Sympathy or empathic concern is the feeling of compassion or concern for another, the wish to see them better off or happier. Pity is feeling that another is in trouble and in need of help as they cannot fix their problems themselves, often described as "feeling sorry" for someone. Emotional contagion is when a person (especially an infant or a member of a mob) imitatively "catches" the emotions that others are showing without necessarily recognizing this is happening.[25]

[edit] Perspective-takingEdit

Just as empathy was conceptually distinguished from sympathy, beginning with the early definitions of empathy in the 1800s, the term may be in the process of being distinguished further, this time from "perspective taking". Due both to the conceptual confusions between the emotional and cognitive aspects of empathy and to an emerging sense of the differences in the functional aspects of the two phenomena, more-recent discussions have distinguished between empathy (as the more intuitive emotional aspect) and perspective-taking (as the more cognitive aspect).[26] Some authors, however, see perspective taking as one of the dimensions of empathy.[27]

[edit] DevelopmentEdit

By the age of two, children normally begin to display the fundamental behaviors of empathy by having an emotional response that corresponds with another person.[28] Even earlier, at one year of age, infants have some rudiments of empathy, in the sense that they understand that, just like their own actions, other people's actions have goals.[29][30][31] Sometimes, toddlers will comfort others or show concern for them at as early an age as two. Also during the second year, toddlers will play games of falsehood or "pretend" in an effort to fool others, and this requires that the child know what others believe before he or she can manipulate those beliefs.[32]

According to researchers at the University of Chicago who used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), children between the ages of 7 and 12 appear to be naturally inclined to feel empathy for others in pain. Their findings[33] are consistent with previous fMRI studies of pain empathy with adults. The research also found additional aspects of the brain were activated when youngsters saw another person intentionally hurt by another individual, including regions involved in moral reasoning.[34]

Despite being able to show some signs of empathy, such as attempting to comfort a crying baby, from as early as 18 months to two years, most children do not show a fully fledged theory of mind until around the age of four.[35] Theory of mind involves the ability to understand that other people may have beliefs that are different from one's own, and is thought to involve the cognitive component of empathy.[36] Children usually become capable of passing "false belief" tasks, considered to be a test for a theory of mind, around the age of four. Individuals with autism often find using a theory of mind very difficult (e.g. Baron-Cohen, Leslie & Frith, 1988; the Sally-Anne test).

Empathetic maturity is a cognitive structural theory developed at the Yale University School of Nursing and addresses how adults conceive or understand the personhood of patients. The theory, first applied to nurses and since applied to other professions, postulates three levels that have the properties of cognitive structures. The third and highest level is held to be a meta-ethical theory of the moral structure of care. Those adults operating with level-III understanding synthesize systems of justice and care-based ethics.[37]

[edit] Neurological basisEdit

Research in recent years has focused on possible brain processes underlying the experience of empathy. For instance, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been employed to investigate the functional anatomy of empathy.[38][39] These studies have shown that observing another person's emotional state activates parts of the neuronal network involved in processing that same state in oneself, whether it is disgust,[40] touch,[41][42] or pain.[43][44][45][46] The study of the neural underpinnings of empathy has received increased interest following the target paper published by Preston and Frans de Waal,[47] following the discovery of mirror neurons in monkeys that fire both when the creature watches another perform an action as well as when they themselves perform it. In their paper, they argued that attended perception of the object's state automatically activates neural representations, and that this activation automatically primes or generates the associated autonomic and somatic responses, unless inhibited. This mechanism is similar to the common coding theory between perception and action.

[edit] LackEdit

[edit] PsychopathyEdit

Some psychopaths are able to detect the emotions of others with such a theory of mind and can mimic caring and friendship in a convincing manner, often in an effort to exploit others. While some psychopaths can detect what others are feeling, they do not experience any reciprocal emotion or sympathy. However, some research indicates that components of neural circuits involved in empathy may also be dysfunctional in psychopathy.[48]

[edit] Enjoyment of others' sufferingEdit

The same ability may underlie schadenfreude (taking pleasure in the pain of another entity) and sadism (being sexually gratified through the infliction of pain or humiliation on another person). Recently, an fMRI study conducted by Jean Decety and colleagues at the University of Chicago has demonstrated that youth with aggressive conduct disorder (who have psychopathic tendencies) have a different brain response when confronted with empathy-eliciting stimuli.[49] In the study, researchers compared 16- to 18-year-old boys with aggressive conduct disorder to a control group of adolescent boys with no unusual signs of aggression. The boys with the conduct disorder had exhibited disruptive behavior such as starting a fight, using a weapon and stealing after confronting a victim. The youth were tested with fMRI while looking at video clips in which people endured pain accidentally, such as when a heavy bowl was dropped on their hands, and intentionally, such as when a person stepped on another's foot. Results show that the aggressive youth activated the neural circuits underpinning pain processing to the same extent and, in some cases, even more so than the control participants without conduct disorder. However, aggressive adolescents showed a specific and very strong activation of the amygdala and ventral striatum (an area that responds to feeling rewarded) when watching pain inflicted on others, which suggested that they enjoyed watching pain. Unlike the control group, the youth with conduct disorder did not activate the area of the brain involved in self-regulation.

Musical MagicEdit

an empath has the ability to absorb and emit music that they hear into other's minds, or to absorb and transfer it into emotions.

here are some songs that trigger these powerful emotions to empaths:

Coraline Themes - Neglectic

Coraline Themes - Neglectic

_______ Promotes neglecticness

[edit] Anger and distressEdit

[edit] AngerEdit

Empathic anger is an emotion, a form of empathic distress.[50] Empathic anger is felt in a situation where someone else is being hurt by another person or thing. It is possible to see this form of anger as a pro-social emotion.

Empathic anger has direct effects on both helping and punishing desires. It can be divided to trait and state empathic angers.[51]

[edit] DistressEdit

Empathic distress is feeling the perceived pain of another person, which feeling can be transformed into the empathic anger, feeling of injustice, and guilt. These emotions can be perceived as pro-social, and some say they can be seen as motives for moral behavior.[50]

[edit] Autism spectrum disordersEdit

The interaction between empathy and autism spectrum disorders is a complex and ongoing field of research.

[edit] Contributing factorsEdit

[edit] AlexithymiaEdit

Research suggests that 85% of ASD individuals have alexithymia,[52] which involves not just the inability to verbally express emotions, but specifically the inability to identify emotional states in self or others.[53] According to recent fMRI studies[54] the syndrome of alexithymia, a condition in which an individual is rendered incapable of recognising and articulating emotional arousal in self or others, is responsible for a severe lack of emotional empathy.[54] The lack of empathetic attunement inherent to alexithymic states may reduce quality[55] and satisfaction[56] of relationships.

[edit] Theory of mindEdit

Also common is an impairment in theory of mind (ToM), the ability to model another's world view using either a theory-like analogy between oneself and others, or the ability to simulate pretend mental states and then apply the consequences of these simulations to others.[57] Francesca Happe showed that autistic children who demonstrate a lack of theory of mind (cognitive empathy) lack theory of mind for self as well as for others.[58]

[edit] Mirror neuron activityEdit

One study found that, relative to typically developing children, high-functioning children with autism showed reduced mirror neuron activity in the brain's inferior frontal gyrus (pars opercularis) while imitating and observing emotional expressions.[59] The authors suggested that their study supports the hypothesis that a dysfunctional mirror neuron system may underlie the social deficits observed in autism. However, this finding has not been replicated by other fMRI studies.[60]

[edit] Cognitive versus affective empathyEdit

Rogers et al. suggest that one must differentiate between cognitive empathy and affective empathy when regarding people with Asperger syndrome. They suggest that autistic individuals have less ability to ascertain others' feelings, but demonstrate equal empathy when they are aware of others' states of mind. Autistic and AS people actually have a greater response to stress that they witness others experiencing than neurotypical people do.[61]

[edit] OversensitivityEdit

A common source of confusion in analyzing the interactions between empathy and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is that the apparent lack of empathy may mask emotional oversensitivity to the feelings of others. People with ASDs may suppress their emotional facility in order to avoid painful feedback. This is cited by Phoebe Caldwell, an author on ASD, who writes: What is clear is that, while people on the spectrum may not respond easily to external gestures/sounds, they do respond most readily if the initiative they witness is already part of their repertoire. This points to the selective use of incoming information rather than absence of recognition. It would appear that people with autism are actually rather good at recognition and imitation if the action they perceive is one that has meaning and significance for their brains. As regards the failure of empathetic response, it would appear that at least some people with autism are oversensitive to the feelings of others rather than immune to them, but cannot handle the painful feed-back that this initiates in the body, and have therefore learnt to suppress this facility. An apparent lack of empathy may also mask an inability to express empathy to others, as opposed to difficulty feeling it, internally.[62]

[edit] Practical issuesEdit

Proper empathetic engagement helps one to understand and anticipate the behavior of another. Apart from the automatic tendency to recognise the emotions of others, one may also deliberately engage in empathic reasoning. Two general methods have been identified here (e.g. Goldie 2000). A person may simulate 'pretend' versions of the beliefs, desires, character traits and context of the other and see what emotional feelings this leads to. Or, a person may simulate the emotional feeling and then look around for a suitable reason for this to fit.

Some research suggests that people are more able and willing to empathize with those most similar to themselves. In particular, empathy increases with similarities in culture and living conditions. Empathy is more likely to occur between individuals whose interaction is more frequent. (See Levenson and Reuf 1997 and Hoffman 2000: 62). A measure of how well a person can infer the specific content of another person's thoughts and feelings has been developed by William Ickes (1997, 2003). Ickes and his colleagues have developed a video-based method to measure empathic accuracy and have used this method to study the empathic inaccuracy of maritally aggressive and abusive spouses, among other topics.

There are concerns that the empathiser's own emotional background may affect or distort what emotions they perceive in others (e.g. Goleman 1996: p. 104). Empathy is not a process that is likely to deliver certain judgements about the emotional states of others. It is a skill that is gradually developed throughout life, and which improves the more contact we have with the person with whom one empathises. Accordingly, any knowledge gained of the emotions of the other must be revisable in light of further information.

[edit] Ethical issuesEdit

The extent to which a person's emotions are publicly observable, or mutually recognized as such has significant social consequences. Empathic recognition may or may not be welcomed or socially desirable. This is particularly the case where we recognise the emotions that someone has towards us during real time interactions. Based on a metaphorical affinity with touch, philosopher Edith Wyschogrod claims that the proximity entailed by empathy increases the potential vulnerability of either party.[63] The appropriate role of empathy in our dealings with others is highly dependent on the circumstances. For instance, it is claimed that clinicians or caregivers must take care not to be too sensitive to the emotions of others, to over-invest their own emotions, at the risk of draining away their own resourcefulness. Furthermore an awareness of the limitations of empathic accuracy is prudent in a caregiving situation.

[edit] Disciplinary approachesEdit

[edit] PsychotherapyEdit

Heinz Kohut is the main introducer of the principle of empathy in psychoanalysis. His principle applies to the method of gathering unconscious material. The possibility of not applying the principle is granted in the cure, for instance when you must reckon with another principle, that of reality. Developing skills of empathy is often a central theme in the recovery process for drug addicts.[citation needed]

In evolutionary psychology, attempts at explaining pro-social behavior often mention the presence of empathy in the individual as a possible variable. Although exact motives behind complex social behaviors are difficult to distinguish, the "ability to put oneself in the shoes of another person and experience events and emotions the way that person experienced them" is the definitive factor for truly altruistic behavior according to Batson's empathy-altruism hypothesis. If empathy is not felt, social exchange (what's in it for me?) supersedes pure altruism, but if empathy is felt, an individual will help by actions or by word, regardless of whether it is in their self-interest to do so and even if the costs outweigh potential rewards.[64]

[edit] EducationEdit

An important target of the method Learning by teaching (LbT) is to train systematically and, in each lesson, teach empathy. Students have to transmit new content to their classmates, so they have to reflect continuously on the mental processes of the other students in the classroom. This way it is possible to develop step-by-step the students' feeling for group reactions and networking.

[edit] With animalsEdit

Some studies of animal behavior claim that empathy is not restricted to humans as the definition implies. Examples include dolphins saving humans (sympathy) from drowning or from shark attacks, and a multitude of behaviors observed in primates, both in captivity and in the wild. (See, for instance, Frans de Waal's The Ape and the Sushi Master.) Rodents have been shown to demonstrate empathy for cagemates (but not strangers) in pain.[65] Furthermore, humans can empathize with animals; as such, empathy is thought to be a driving psychological force behind the animal rights movement (an example of sympathy).

[edit] FictionEdit

Some philosophers (such as Martha Nussbaum) suggest that novel reading cultivates readers' empathy and leads them to exercise better world citizenship. For a critique of this application of the empathy-altruism hypothesis to experiences of narrative empathy, see Keen's Empathy and the Novel (Oxford, 2007). In some works of science fiction and fantasy, empathy is understood to be a paranormal or psychic ability to sense the emotions of others, as opposed to telepathy, which allows one to perceive thoughts as well. A person who has that ability is also called an "empath" or "telempath" in this context. Occasionally these empaths are also able to project their own emotions, or to affect the emotions of others.

[edit] HistoryEdit

Some postmodern historians such as Keith Jenkins in recent years have debated whether or not it is possible to empathise with people from the past. Jenkins argues that empathy only enjoys such a privileged position in the present because it corresponds harmoniously with the dominant Liberal discourse of modern society and can be connected to John Stuart Mill's concept of reciprocal freedom. Jenkins argues the past is a foreign country and as we do not have access to the epistemological conditions of by gone ages we are unable to empathise.[66]

It is impossible to forecast the effect of empathy on the future.[citation needed] A past subject may take part in the present by the so-called historic present. If we watch from a fictitious past, can tell the present with the future tense, as it happens with the trick of the false prophecy. There is no way of telling the present with the means of the past.[67]

[edit] BusinessEdit

In the 2009 book Wired to Care, strategy consultant Dev Patnaik argues that a major flaw in contemporary business practice is a lack of empathy inside large corporations. He states that lacking any sense of empathy, people inside companies struggle to make intuitive decisions and often get fooled into believing they understand their business if they have quantitative research to rely upon. Patnaik claims that the real opportunity for companies doing business in the 21st Century is to create a widely held sense of empathy for customers, pointing to Nike, Harley-Davidson, and IBM as examples of "Open Empathy Organizations". Such institutions, he claims see new opportunities more quickly than competitors, adapt to change more easily, and create workplaces that offer employees a greater sense of mission in their jobs [1].

[edit] PhilosophyEdit

In the 2007 book The Ethics of Care and Empathy, philosopher Michael Slote introduces a theory of care-based ethics that is grounded in empathy. His claim is that moral motivation does, and should, stem from a basis of empathic response. He claims that our natural reaction to situations of moral significance are explained by empathy. He explains that the limits and obligations of empathy and in turn morality are natural. These natural obligations include a greater empathic, and moral obligation to family and friends, along with an account of temporal and physical distance. In situations of close temporal and physical distance, and with family or friends, our moral obligation seems stronger to us than with strangers at a distance naturally. Slote explains that this is due to empathy and our natural empathic ties. He further adds that actions are wrong if and only if they reflect or exhibit a deficiency of fully developed empathic concern for others on the part of the agent.[68]

In phenomenology, empathy is used to describe the experience in which one experiences what the other experiences. It should not, however, be understood as some kind of magical or telepathic connection, but rather as the experience of experiencing something from the other's viewpoint, without confusion between self and other. This draws on the sense of agency. In the most basic sense, this is the experience of the other's body and, in this sense, it is an experience of "my body over there". In most other respects, however, the experience is modified so that what is experienced is experienced as being the other's experience; in experiencing empathy, what is experienced is not "my" experience, even though I experience it. Empathy is also considered to be the condition of intersubjectivity and, as such, the source of the constitution of objectivity.

[edit] MeasurementEdit

Research into the measurement of empathy has sought to answer a number of questions: who should be carrying out the measurement? What should pass for empathy and what should be discounted? What unit of measure (UOM) should be adopted and to what degree should each occurrence precisely match that UOM are also key questions that researchers have sought to investigate.

Researchers have approached the measurement of empathy from a number of perspectives.

Behavioural measures normally involve raters assessing the presence or absence of certain either predetermined or ad-hoc behaviours in the subjects they are monitoring. Both verbal and non-verbal behaviours have been captured on video by experimenters such as Truax (1967b).[69] Other experimenters, including Mehrabian and Epstein (1972),[70] have required subjects to comment upon their own feelings and behaviours, or those of other people involved in the experiment, as indirect ways of signalling their level of empathic functioning to the raters.

Physiological responses tend to be captured by elaborate electronic equipment that has been physically connected to the subject's body. Researchers then draw inferences about that person's empathic reactions from the electronic readings produced (e.g. Levenson and Ruef, 1992[71]; Leslie et al., 2004[72]).

Bodily or "somatic" measures can be looked upon as behavioural measures at a micro level. Their focus is upon measuring empathy through facial and other non-verbally expressed reactions in the empathiser. These changes are presumably underpinned by physiological changes brought about by some form of "emotional contagion" or mirroring (e.g. Levenson and Ruef, 1992*; Leslie et al., 2004*). It should be pointed out that these reactions, whilst appearing to reflect the internal emotional state of the empathiser, could also, if the stimulus incident lasted more than the briefest period, be reflecting the results of emotional reactions that are based upon more pieces of thinking through (cognitions) associated with role-taking ("if I were him I would feel...").

Paper-based indices involve one or more of a variety of methods of responding. In some experiments, subjects are required to watch video scenarios (either staged or authentic) and to make written responses which are then assessed for their levels of empathy (e.g. Geher, Warner and Brown, 2001[73]); scenarios are sometimes also depicted in printed form (e.g. Mehrabian and Epstein, 1972[74]). Measures also frequently require subjects to self-report upon their own ability or capacity for empathy, using Likert-style numerical responses to a printed questionnaire that may have been designed to tap into the emotional, cognitive-affective or largely cognitive substrates of empathic functioning. Some questionnaires claim to have been able to tap into both cognitive and emotional substrates (e.g. Davis, 1980[75]). More recent paper-based tools include The Empathy Quotient (EQ) created by Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright[76] which comprises a self report questionnaire consisting of 60 items.

For the very young, picture or puppet-story indices for empathy have been adopted to enable even very young, pre-school subjects to respond without needing to read questions and write answers (e.g. Denham and Couchoud, 1990). Dependent variables (variables that are monitored for any change by the experimenter) for younger subjects have included self reporting on a 7-point smiley face scale and filmed facial reactions (Barnett, 1984)[77].

A certain amount of confusion exists about how to measure empathy. These may be rooted in another problem: deciding what is empathy and what is not. In general, researchers have until now been keen to pin down a singular definition of empathy which would allow them to design a measure to assess its presence in an exchange, in someone's repertoire of behaviours or within them as a latent trait. As a result they have been frequently forced to ignore the richness of the empathic process in favour of capturing surface, explicit self-report or third-party data about whether empathy between two people was present or not. In most cases, instruments have unfortunately only yielded information on whether someone had the potential to demonstrate empathy (Geher et al., 2001)*. Gladstein (1987)[78] summarises the position noting that empathy has been measured from the point of view of the empathiser, the recipient for empathy and the third-party observer. He suggests that since the multiple measures used have produced results that bear little relation to one another, researchers should refrain from making comparisons between scales that are in fact measuring different things. He suggests that researchers should instead stipulate what kind of empathy they are setting out to measure rather than simplistically stating that they are setting out to measure the unitary phenomenon "empathy"; a view more recently endorsed by Duan and Hill (1996).[79]

In the field of medicine, a measurement tool for carers is the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy, Health Professional Version (JSPE-HP)[80] At least one study using this tool with health sciences' students has found that levels of empathy are greater amogst females than males, and also are greater amongst older students than younger students.[81]

[edit] Gender differencesEdit

The issue of gender differences in empathy is quite controversial. It is often believed that females are more empathetic than males. Evidence for gender differences in empathy are important for self report questionnaires of empathy in which it is obvious what was being indexed (e.g., impact of social desirability and gender stereotypes) but are smaller or nonexistent for other types of indexes that are less self-evident with regard to their purpose.[82] Most females also score higher than males on the EQ, while males tend to score higher on the Systemizing Quotient (SQ).

Both males and females with autistic spectrum disorders usually score higher on the SQ (Baron-Cohen, 2003). However, a series of recent studies, using a variety of neurophysiological measures, including MEG,[83] spinal reflex excitability,[84] electroencephalography,[85][86] have documented the presence of a gender difference in the human mirror neuron system, with female participants exhibiting stronger motor resonance than male participants. In addition, these aforementioned studies found that female participants scored higher on empathy self report dispositional measures and that these measures positively correlated with the physiological response. However, other studies show that women do not possess greater empathic abilities than men, and perceived gender differences are the result of motivational differences.[14][87] Another research using MEG measury[88] showed that empathic neural responses in men are shaped by valuation of fairness of others.

[edit] See alsoEdit

[edit] ReferencesEdit

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[edit] BooksEdit

  • Davis, M. H. (1996). Empathy: A Social-Psychological Approach. Westview.
  • Decety, J., & Ickes, W. (2009). The Social Neuroscience of Empathy. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Eisenberg, N., & Strayer, J. (1987). Empathy and its Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Farrow, T. F., & Woodruff, P.W. (2007). Empathy and Mental Illness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hoffman, M.L. (2000). Empathy and Moral Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Stein, E. (1917). On the problem of empathy. ICS Publications: Washington, 1989.

[edit] External linksEdit

Empathy is the recognition and understanding of the states of mind, beliefs, desires, and particularly, emotions of others. It is often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another's shoes", or experiencing the outlook or emotions of another being within oneself; a sort of emotional resonance.

What is Empathy? The origin of the word empathy dates back to the 1880s, when German psychologist Theodore Lipps coined the term "einfuhlung" (literally, "in-feeling") to describe the emotional appreciation of another's feelings. Empathy has further been described as the process of understanding a person's subjective experience by vicariously sharing that experience while maintaining an observant stance.

9 Empathy is a balanced curiosity leading to a deeper understanding of another human being; stated another way, empathy is the capacity to understand another person's experience from within that person's frame of reference.

10 Even more simply stated, empathy is the ability to "put oneself in another's shoes." In an essay entitled "Some Thoughts on Empathy," Columbia University psychiatrist Alberta Szalita stated, "I view empathy as one of the important mechanisms through which we bridge the gap between experience and thought." A few sentences earlier in her essay, she had emphasized that ... "[empathy is] consideration of another person's feelings and readiness to respond to his [or her] needs ... without making his [or her] burden one's own." Background While the ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated imaginative process that only fully develops later on in life, the roots of this ability are probably innate.

Human capacity to recognize the emotions of others is related to our imitative capacities, and seems to be grounded in the innate capacity to associate the bodily movements and facial expressions we see with the proprioceptive feelings of those same movements or expressions. Humans also make the same immediate connection between tone of voice and inner feeling. Hence, by looking at the facial expressions or bodily movements of others, or hearing their tone of voice, we are able to get an immediate sense of how they feel on the inside.

We experience this as anything from understanding, to directly experiencing or feeling their emotion (say, sadness or anger), rather than just noting the behavioral symptoms of that emotion. More fully developed empathy requires more than simply recognizing another's emotional state. Since emotions are typically directed towards objects or states of affairs (either real or imaginary), the empathiser first requires some idea of what that object might be. Next, the empathiser must determine how the emotional feeling will significantly affect the way in which s/he perceives the object. In other words, the empathizer must determine the aspects of the object upon which to focus. Hence s/he must not only recognize the object toward which the other is directed, but also then recognize the bodily feeling, and then add these components together.

The empathiser has to somehow find a way into the loop where perception of the object generates feeling, and feeling affects the perception of the object. This process occurs before taking in account the character of the other person as well as their wider non-psychological context (such as being short or being a lawyer). In general two methods of empathy are possible: either a) simulate the pretend beliefs, desires, character traits and context of the other and see what emotional feelings this leads to; or b) start by simulating the emotional feeling directly perceived and then look around for a suitable reason for this to fit to. Either way, full empathetic engagement is supposed to help to understand and anticipate the behavior of the other. Additionally, other subtle methods may be available, depending on the purpose of the empathic act. Empathy Versus Sympathy (and Versus Pity) Despite some divergent opinion on the matter, we may propose a subtle but important distinction between empathy and sympathy.

Whereas empathy is used by skilled clinicians to enhance communication and delivery of care, sympathy can be burdensome and emotionally exhausting and can lead to burnout. Sympathy implies feeling shared with the sufferer as if the pain belonged to both persons: We sympathize with other human beings when we share and suffer with them. It would stand to reason, therefore, that completely shared suffering can never exist between physician and patient; otherwise, the physician would share the patient's plight and would therefore be unable to help. Empathy is concerned with a much higher order of human relationship and understanding: engaged detachment. In empathy, we "borrow" another's feelings to observe, feel, and understand them--but not to take them onto ourselves. By being a participant-observer, we come to understand how the other person feels. An empathetic observer enters into the equation and then is removed.

Harry Wilmer22 summarizes these three emotions--Empathy, Sympathy, and Pity--as follows: Pity describes a relationship which separates physician and patient. Pity is often condescending and may entail feelings of contempt and rejection. Sympathy is when the physician experiences feelings as if he or she were the sufferer. Sympathy is thus shared suffering. Empathy is the feeling relationship in which the physician understands the patient's plight as if the physician were the patient. The physician identifies with the patient and at the same time maintains a distance. Empathetic communication enhances the therapeutic effectiveness of the clinician-patient relationship.

Empathy Introduction We as a race go through life sometime not knowing the pain that we cause as we live our daily lives. Empathy is the ability to change that destructive nature. The wingmaker and the world server use empathy to help heal the pain. That this destructive nature has caused in the world today and we all work hard to bring peace and harmony to the earth and all it's inhabitants.