SPI Working Paper Series

WP #: 135

Date: Apr 2015


Other Sources

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SPI Funded Paper

The Complex Relation between Morality and Empathy

     This paper was published in Trends in Cognitive Science in 2014

    Jean Decety, Jason Cowell

    University of Chicago
    University of Chicago

Morality and empathy are fundamental components of human nature across cultures. However, the wealth of empirical findings from developmental, behavioral, and social neuroscience demonstrates a complex relation between morality and empathy. At times, empathy guides moral judgment, yet other times empathy can interfere with it. To better understand such relations, we propose abandoning the catchall term of empathy in favor of more precise concepts, such as emotional shar- ing, empathic concern, and affective perspective-taking.