||An ability to understand the
thoughts and feelings of self and others… a sophisticated ability
involving attunement, decentring and introspection: an act of thoughtful,
||Mercy is the heartfelt
sympathy for another’s distress, impelling us to succour him if we can.
||Empathy is about spontaneously
and naturally tuning into the other person’s thoughts and feelings,
whatever these might be.
|Batson et al.
|| An other-oriented emotional
response congruent with another’s perceived welfare.
|Berger, D. M.
||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 oneself in another’s shoes.
|Blair & Blair
||There are at least three
classes of processing, at least partially separable at both the neural and
cognitive levels, that can be described as empathy… emotional, cognitive
(also known as theory of mind), and motor empathy (where the body postures
of others mimic those of the observed individual).
||The transposition of oneself
into another being, thus losing one’s own concreteness.
||Involves something like a
sharing of the other’s mental states, frequently, as from her standpoint.
|De Waal, F.
||“Empathy is an automated
response…that requires emotional engagement… Seeing another’s emotion
arouses our own emotions, and from there we go on constructing a more
advanced understanding of the other’s situation. Bodily connections comes
first – understanding follows.
||A sense of similarity in
feelings experienced by the self and the other, without confusion between
the two individuals.
|Deitch Feshbach, N
||A shared emotional response
that is contingent upon cognitive factors.
|Eisenberg, N. & Fabes, R.A.
||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.
||A condition with both a
cognitive and affective dimension, it includes the ability accurately to
perceive and comprehend the thoughts, feelings and motives of the other to
the degree that one can make inferences and predictions consonant with
those of the other, while remaining oneself.
||The ability to put oneself
into the mental shoes of another person to understand her emotions and
||Sensing another’s emotions...
In today’s psychology, the word ‘empathy’ is used in three distinct
senses: knowing another person’s feelings; feeling what that person feels;
and responding compassionately to another’s distress.
|| Identifying with the
situation and feelings of another person. The capacity to share in the
emotional life of another, as well as the ability to imagine the way the
world looks from another’s vantage point.
||The ability to identify and to
respond appropriately to the feelings and perspectives of others
|Goubert, L. et al
||A sense of knowing the
personal experience of another person… a cognitive appreciation that is
accompanied by both affective and behavioral responses.
|Greenson, R. R.
||To empathize means to share,
to experience the feelings of another person.
|H.H. The Dalai Lama
||Compassion is understood
mainly in terms of empathy – namely, our ability to enter into and, to
some extent, share others’ suffering.
|Hatfield, E. et al.
||True empathy requires three
distinct skills: the ability to share the other person’s feelings, the
cognitive ability to intuit what another person is feeling, and a
‘socially beneficial’ intention to respond compassionately to that
|Haynes, L. A.
& Avery, A. W.
||The ability to recognize and
understand another person’s perceptions and feelings, and to accurately
convey that understanding through an accepting response.
||An affective response more
appropriate to another’s situation than one’s own.
||Sympathy is a propensity…to
receive by communication [another’s] inclinations and sentiments, however
different from, or contrary to our own.
|| A complex form of
psychological inference in which observation, memory, knowledge, and
reasoning are combined to yield insights into the thoughts and feelings of
|| The human capability of
imagining the pain and degradation done to other human beings as if it
were our own.
||The inclination to imagine
life as the other, rather than discrete experiences of the other.
|Kohut, H. et l.
||The capacity to think and feel
oneself into the inner life of another person.
||Sometimes, ‘to empathize with
someone’ means having the capacity to discern/understand another’s
psychological states… In another and stronger sense, however, ‘to
empathize with someone’ means identifying with another’s emotional set-up…
In other words, the empathizer has the relevant feelings; he does not
merely discern them or imagine what they would feel like.
||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.
||The psychological state of
imaginatively projecting oneself into another’s situation.
||An other-oriented perspective
congruent with another’s sociocultural values, political ideology, and
||A capacity for ‘positional
thinking,’ the ability to see the world from another creature’s viewpoint.
|Phillips, L. C.
||Together, the qualities of
care within the experiences of identification and imagination create
|Pink, D. H.
||The ability to imagine
yourself in someone else’s position and to intuit what that person is
||Empathy is felt and reasoned
simultaneously. It is a quantum experience…. Empathy allows us to stretch
our sensibility with another so that we can cohere in larger social units.
To empathize is to civilize. To civilize is to empathize.
|Rogers, C. R.
||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.
||The inner experience of
sharing in and comprehending the momentary psychological state of another
person. Schertz, M. (2007) The mediation of emotional information
involving systemic communicative processes operating between relational
|Schonert-Reichl, K. A.
||An individual’s emotional
responsiveness to the emotional experiences of another.
||In feeling compassion for
another, I suffer directly with him, I feel his woe just as I ordinarily
feel only my own; and, likewise, I directly desire his weal in the same
way I otherwise desire my own…At every moment we remain clearly conscious
that he is the sufferer, not we; and it is precisely in his person, not in
our, that we feel the suffering, to our own grief and sorrow. We suffer
with him and hence in him; we feel his pain as his, and do not imagine
that it is ours.
||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.
||Empathy enables us to enter
another’s world sufficiently to identify with that person so that other
emotions, such as compassion or pity, have a chance to grab hold… Through
an act of imagination and simulation we appreciate, however fleetingly,
something of what another experiences, sees, fears, and desires. We
recenter ourselves on that other, seeing through his or her eyes.
|Slote, J. D.
|| Involves having the feelings
of another (involuntarily)aroused in ourselves, as when we see one
||Sympathy is a process that
allows the minds of men to become mirrors to one another.
|Spiro, H. S.
|| The feeling that
persons or objects arouse in us as projections of our feelings and
thoughts. It is evident when “I and you” becomes “I am you,” or at least
“I might be
||The experiences of being led
by the foreign consciousness… and the givenness of foreign subjects and
4 I contend that Schopenhauer used the word compassion to describe the
phenomenon of empathy.
5 I contend that Smith used the word sympathy to describe the phenomenon
||The process of humanizing
objects, of reading or feeling ourselves into them.
|Toranzo, N. C.
|| A multidimensional construct
that involves the dynamic interplay of perception, social cognition, and
|Trout, J. D.
||Empathy is the capacity to
accurately understand the position of others – to feel that ‘this could
happen to me.’
&Greenberg, L. S.
||Neuroscientists define empathy
as a ‘complex form of psychological inference that enables us to
understand the personal experiences of another person through cognitive,
evaluative and affective processes.
||The capacity to recognize and,
to some extent, sharefeelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are
being experienced by another semi-sentient being.
* References with an asterisk were sourced from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy,
on July 13, 2010.