The role of shared neural activations, mirror neurons, and morality in empathy - A critical comment

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Abstract

In the last decade, the phenomenon of empathy has received widespread attention by the field of social neuroscience. This has provided fresh insights for theoretical models of empathy, and substantially influenced the academic and public conceptions about this complex social skill. The present paper highlights three key issues which are often linked to empathy, but which at the same time might obscure our understanding of it. These issues are: (1) shared neural activations and whether these can be interpreted as evidence for simulation accounts of empathy; (2) the causal link of empathy to our presumed mirror neuron system; and (3) the question whether increasing empathy will result in better moral decisions and behaviors. The aim of our review is to provide the basis for critically evaluating our current understanding of empathy, and its public reception, and to inspire new research directions.

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Lamm, C., & Majdandžić, J. (2015, January 1). The role of shared neural activations, mirror neurons, and morality in empathy - A critical comment. Neuroscience Research. Elsevier Ireland Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neures.2014.10.008

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