The science of empathy

baby_foot_in_hand.jpgThe Times recently published a curious article on the science of empathy after a case where an eight year-old girl broke her leg and several drivers apparently drove past without caring to stop and help.

Apart from the grating “empathy has a physical location” (the spirit of phrenology lives on…) it’s a brief but interesting look at some of the emerging research into empathy, although doesn’t do a great job of tying it together into a coherent overview.

For those wanting a more in-depth (and more accurate) look at the neuroscience of empathy, a 2003 review article (pdf) by Drs Jean Decety and Philip Jackson is a fantastic four-page romp through the recent research in the area.

Link to article ‘In a sorry state of mind’.
Link to Decety and Jackson article on empathy.

1 thought on “The science of empathy”

  1. The Times asks, “Does this conversion from empathy as a fluffy feeling to numbers on a scientist‚Äôs computer benefit us?” Of course! Without electronic detection of empathy, we’ll never be able to make the Voight-Kampff test, and so we won’t be able to tell humans from replicants!

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