A Three-Person Model of Empathy

Emotion Review 4 (1):84-91 (2012)
This article proposes a three-step model of empathy. It assumes that people have various empathy-related mechanisms available and thus can be described as hyper-empathic (Step 1). Under these conditions, the question of blocking and controlling empathy becomes a central issue to channel empathic attention and to avoid self-loss (Step 2). It is assumed that empathy can be sustained only when these mechanisms of controlling empathy are bypassed (Step 3). In particular, the article proposes a three-person scenario with one observing a conflict of two others. By taking the side of one of the combatants, the observer is led into empathizing, perhaps to justify her/his earlier side-taking.
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