A surfeit of research confirms that people activate personal, affective, and conceptual representations when perceiving the states of others. However, researchers continue to debate the role of self-other overlap in empathy due to a failure to dissociate neural overlap, subjective resonance, and personal distress. A perception-action view posits that neural-level overlap is necessary during early processing for all social understanding, but need not be conscious or aversive. This neural overlap can subsequently produce a variety of states depending on the context and degree of common experience and emotionality. We outline a framework for understanding the interrelationship between neural and subjective overlap, and among empathic states, through a dynamic-systems view of how information is processed in the brain and body.
Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- emotional contagion
- perspective taking
- self-other overlap