Skip to main content Skip to search
Empathy: A Review of the Concept
Emotion Review
Short Title: Emotion ReviewEmpathy
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2016
Pages: 144 - 153
Sources ID: 73471
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)
The inconsistent definition of empathy has had a negative impact on both research and practice. The aim of this article is to review and critically appraise a range of definitions of empathy and, through considered analysis, to develop a new conceptualisation. From the examination of 43 discrete definitions, 8 themes relating to the nature of empathy emerged: “distinguishing empathy from other concepts”; “cognitive or affective?”; “congruent or incongruent?”; “subject to other stimuli?”; “self/other distinction or merging?”; “trait or state influences?”; “has a behavioural outcome?”; and “automatic or controlled?” The relevance and validity of each theme is assessed and a new conceptualisation of empathy is offered. The benefits of employing a more consistent and complete definition of empathy are discussed.