An Evolutionary Perspective, Sociophysiology, and Heritability
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For a better grasp of empathy, we need to understand its evolutionary roots and its sociophysiological functions.
During the course of evolution, human beings have been endowed with an innate capacity to express and understand emotions from nonverbal cues, which contributed to survival and is conceptualized as primitive empathy.
Evidence showing infant’s reactive crying, facial mimicry, physiological synchronicity in interpersonal interactions, and universal expression of emotions indicates that aspects of interpersonal behaviors cannot be attributed to social learning.
Twin studies suggest that heritability is also a significant component of empathy more often when a measure of emotional empathy (rather than cognitive empathy) is used.
KeywordsEvolutionary perspective Verbal communication Nonverbal communication Sociophysiology Heritability Physiological synchronization Twin studies Monozygotic twins Dizygotic twins Facial mimicry Imitation Body posture
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