This article is about the emotional capacity. Thus alexithymia literally means “pushing away your emotions”. It can also be understood as having the separateness of defining oneself and another blur. It also medical neurobiology peggy mason pdf the ability to feel and share another person’s emotions.
Some believe that empathy involves the ability to match another’s emotions, while others believe that empathy involves being tenderhearted toward another person. Having empathy can include having the understanding that there are many factors that go into decision making and cognitive thought processes. Past experiences have an influence on the decision making of today. Understanding this allows a person to have empathy for individuals who sometimes make illogical decisions to a problem that most individuals would respond with an obvious response.
Broken homes, childhood trauma, lack of parenting and many others factors can influence the connections in the brain which a person uses to make decisions in the future. According to Hoffman everyone is born with the capability of feeling empathy. Definitions vary, contributing to the challenge of defining empathy. Compassion is often defined as an emotion we feel when others are in need, which motivates us to help them. Sympathy is a feeling of care and understanding for someone in need. Pity is feeling that another is in trouble and in need of help as they cannot fix their problems themselves, often described as “feeling sorry” for someone. Since empathy involves understanding the emotional states of other people, the way it is characterized is derived from the way emotions themselves are characterized.
If, for example, emotions are taken to be centrally characterized by bodily feelings, then grasping the bodily feelings of another will be central to empathy. On the other hand, if emotions are more centrally characterized by a combination of beliefs and desires, then grasping these beliefs and desires will be more essential to empathy. The ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated imaginative process. Empathy necessarily has a “more or less” quality. The paradigm case of an empathic interaction, however, involves a person communicating an accurate recognition of the significance of another person’s ongoing intentional actions, associated emotional states, and personal characteristics in a manner that the recognized person can tolerate. Recognitions that are both accurate and tolerable are central features of empathy.