chapter  6
34 Pages

Empathy: Affect Prom Bearing Witness to the Emotions of Others

This chapter explores the merits of various conceptual approaches to the phenome­ non of empathy. The principal theories of empathy are outlined, and their strengths, weaknesses, and limitations are discussed. A new theoretical model of empathy is then presented. This model incorporates and integrates much established the­ ory. The presentation is followed by a discussion of pertinent research findings. Finally, the new model’s implications for affective development are projected. Special consideration is given to the changing ecology of empathetic experience. Focus is on the new communication technology with its enormous capacity for replacing immediate, affect-producing social exchanges with sign events that ab­ stract, simulate, and represent such exchanges.