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Empathy and Prosocial Behavior

Within this research focus, we are interested in the neural and psychological mechanisms of empathy and sharing the affect of others. We define empathy as the ability to experience and understand what others feel without confusion between oneself and others. Knowing what someone else is feeling plays a fundamental role in interpersonal interactions. In particular, we are aiming to determine how empathic responses are modulated by high-level and low-level mechanisms factors such as, for example, emotion regulation, emotional contagion, or the interpersonal relationship between empathizer and the target of empathy. A focus of recent experiments is to elucidate the link of empathy to helping behavior, as well as the role of self/other distinction for affective resonance.
Representative publications:

  • Singer, T., Lamm, C. (2009). The social neuroscience of empathy. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1156, 81-96. (external link)

  • Lamm, C., Decety, J., Singer, T. (2010). Meta-analytic evidence for common and distinct neural networks associated with directly experienced pain and empathy for pain. Neuroimage, EPub ahead of print. NeuroImage (2010), doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.10.014. (external link)

Further information on ongoing projects und projects: http://biol-psy.univie.ac.at/research/projects/

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SCAN-Unit
Faculty of Psychology
University of Vienna

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Lastupdate: 21.08.2015 - 10:24