Revue de neuropsychologie


Neural mechanisms mediating empathy and sympathy Volume 2, issue 2, juin 2010


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Départements de psychologie et de psychiatrie, Université de Chicago, 5848 S. University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, États-Unis http://scnl.org

Empathy and sympathy are thought to play a key role in motivating prosocial behavior and providing the affective and motivational base for moral development. While these abilities have traditionally been examined using behavioral methods, recent work in evolutionary biology, developmental and affective neuroscience has begun to shed light on the neural circuitry that instantiate them. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the current knowledge in the field of affective neuroscience and provide an integrative and comprehensive view of the computational mechanisms that underlie interpersonal sensitivity. This framework is of general interest and relevance for theory as well as for assisting future research in the domains of affective developmental neuroscience and psychopathology.