How automatic and representational is empathy, and why

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (1):38-39 (2001)

Abstract
The claim that empathy is both automatic and representational is criticized as follows: (a) five empathy-arousing processes ranging from conditioning and mimicry to prospective-taking show that empathy can be either automatic or representational, and only under certain circumstances, both; (b) although automaticity decreases, empathy increases with age and cognitive development; (c) observers' causal attributions can shift rapidly and produce more complex empathic responses than the theory allows.
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DOI 10.1017/s0140525x02410011
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