Empathy in Patient Care: Antecedents, Development, by Mohammadreza Hojat

By Mohammadreza Hojat

Human beings, despite age, intercourse, or kingdom of wellbeing and fitness, are designed by way of evolution to shape significant interpersonal relationships via verbal and nonverbal conversation. The topic that empathic human connections are invaluable to the physique and brain underlies all 12 chapters of this booklet, during which empathy is considered from a multidisciplinary point of view that incorporates evolutionary biology; neuropsychology; scientific, social, developmental, and academic psychology; and healthiness care supply and schooling.

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For example, Batson and Coke (1981, p. ” Rushton (1981, p. ” Eisenberg (1989) described it as “an emotional response that stems from the apprehension of another’s emotional state or condition and is congruent with the other’s emotional state or condition” (p. 108). Halpern (2001, p. ” Katz (1963, p. ” Kalisch (1973, p. 1548) defined it as “the ability to enter into the life of another person, to accurately perceive his current feelings and their meaning”; and Hoffman (1981, p. ” However, Underwood and Moore (1982) suggested that an emotional perspective is not a sufficient condition to define empathy.

However, there has been an ongoing debate about the construct of empathy, described sometimes as a cognitive attribute featuring understanding of experiences of others; at other times, as an emotional state of the mind featuring sharing of feelings; and at still other times as a concept involving both cognition and emotion. Distinctions are made in this chapter between cognition and emotion and also between understanding and feeling. Subsequently, the unsettled issue of the differences between empathy and sympathy is addressed by viewing empathy as a predominantly cognitive attribute featuring understanding of others’ concerns that has a positive and linear relationship with patient outcomes and by viewing sympathy as a primarily emotional concept featured by sharing emotions and feelings that has a curvilinear relationship (an inverted U shape) with patient outcomes.

Two types of empathy, cognitive empathy and emotional empathy, fit these descriptions. Cognitive Perspective Rosalind Dymond (1949) viewed empathy as a cognitive ability to assume the role of another person. Heins Kohut (1971, p. 300) described empathy as “a mode of cognition that is specifically attuned to the perception of a complex psychological configuration” (emphasis added). Basch (1983) also described empathy as a complex cognitive process involving cognitive functions, such as judgment and reality testing.

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