Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Empathy

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_91

Introduction

As a contemporary cultural and psychological phenomenon, there is little doubt that empathy is a concept of importance in most areas of information construction, dissemination and inquiry—scientific, literary, and civic. Its prominence in both academia and public discourse is supported by two relatively simple observations: (1) the proliferation of popularized scientific writing on empathy in relation to the brain and mirror neurons (e.g., Iacoboni, 2009; Ramachandran, 2011) and (2) its suggested role in most topics related to human (and nonhuman) relationships, culture, and functioning.

A short list exemplifying empathy’s role in several aspects of modern societal discourse might include its centrality in political-civic discourse (e.g., as a central moral concept in the agenda of US President Barak Obama; see Obama, 2006); its integration into democratic and political decision-making processes (e.g., Morrell, 2010); its representation in business in relation to customer...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada