Empathy: Its ultimate and proximate bases

Preston, Stephanie D. and de Waal, Frans B. M. (2000) Empathy: Its ultimate and proximate bases. (Unpublished)

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The empathy literature is characterized by debate regarding the nature of the phenomenon. We propose a unified theory of empathy, divided into ultimate and proximate levels, grounded in the emotional link between individuals. On an ultimate level, emotional linkage supports group alarm, vicariousness of emotions, mother-infant responsiveness, and the modeling of competitors and predators; these exist across species and greatly effect reproductive success. Proximately, emotional linkage arises from a direct mapping of another's behavioral state onto a subject's behavioral representations, which activate responses in the subject. This ultimate and proximate account parsimoniously explains different phylogenetic and ontogenetic levels of empathy.

Item Type:Other
Keywords:emotion; perspective taking; emotional contagion; cognitive empathy; comparative; evolution; altruism; perception-action
Subjects:Neuroscience > Behavioral Neuroscience
Biology > Evolution
Psychology > Comparative Psychology
ID Code:1042
Deposited By:Preston, Stephanie D.
Deposited On:19 Oct 2000
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

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