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On the interaction of social affect and cognition: Empathy, compassion and theory of mind

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Preckel,  Katrin
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Singer,  Tania
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Preckel_Kanske_2017.pdf
(Publisher version), 676KB

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Citation

Preckel, K., Kanske, P., & Singer, T. (2018). On the interaction of social affect and cognition: Empathy, compassion and theory of mind. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 19, 1-6. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.07.010.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-A201-3
Abstract
Empathy, compassion and Theory of Mind (ToM) are central topics in social psychology and neuroscience. While empathy enables the sharing of others’ emotions and may result in empathic distress, a maladaptive form of empathic resonance, or compassion, a feeling of warmth and concern for others, ToM provides cognitive understanding of someone else’s thoughts or intentions. These socio-affective and socio-cognitive routes to understanding others are subserved by separable, independent brain networks. Nonetheless they are jointly required in many complex social situations. A process that is critical for both, empathy and ToM, is self-other distinction, which is implemented in different temporoparietal brain regions. Thus, adaptive social behavior is a result of dynamic interplay of socio-affective and socio-cognitive processes.