Topic: Consciousness And Empathy

Camp: Agreement / Perception Empathy Judgment

Camp Statement
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The concept of empathy is ubiquitous in the counseling literature and is featured
in every introductory counseling course. The attention to empathy is in part attributed to
the emergence of humanism–following psychoanalysis and behaviorism–and the influence of Carl Rogers who emphasized that empathy is a sufficient and necessary condition for psychological change (Rogers, 1959). Although Carl Rogers is the theorist who is typically credited with the concept empathy, a definition of empathy made its entrée into the psychological nomenclature as early as the 16th and 17th centuries in the writings of theorists such as Smith in Theory of Moral Sentiments, and Spencer in The Principles of Psychology (Davis, 1983). At the turn of the 20th century Titchener used the German word einfűhlung to coin the term empathy which he translated to mean “a process of humanizing objects, of reading or feeling ourselves into them” (Duan & Hill, 1996, p.261). Twenty-first century theorists are yet to reach consensus on a definition and have examined empathy from three perspectives: (i) as an affective phenomenon (Allport, 1961; Mehrabian & Epstein,1972); (ii) as a cognitive response to the experiences of others ( Kohut, 1971; Rogers, 1986); and (iii) as both affective and cognitive elements (Gladstein, 1983; Jolliffe & Farrington, 2006). Some theorists have suggested that empathy is a personality trait or the innate ability to know what the other person is experiencing (Book, 1988; Buie, 1981; Davis, 1983; Duan & Hill, 1996; Sawyer, 1975). The assumption that undergirds the trait theory perspective is that some individuals are more empathic than others because they are naturally predisposed to be empathic. The term dispositional empathy is commonly associated with this perspective. However, other theorists have asserted that empathy is a situation specific affective-cognitive state and is a vicarious response to a phenomenon or a person (Batson & Coke, 1981; Duan & Hill, 1996; Rogers, 1957, 1959). The assumption that underlies a situation specific cognitive or affective response challenges the notion of the innate characteristics of dispositional empathy and suggests that the empathic response is influenced by the situational factors which may override dispositional empathEmpathy, the practice of taking and emotionally identifying with another’s point of view, is a skill that likely provides context to another’s behavior. Yet systematic research on its relation with accurate personality trait judgment is sparse. This study investigated this relation between one’s empathic response tendencies (perspective taking, empathic concern, fantasy, and personal distress) and the accuracy with which she or he makes judgments of others. Using four different samples (N

1,153), the tendency to perspective take (ds

.23–.27) and show empathic concern (ds = .28–.42) were all positively related meta-analytically to distinctive accuracy, normative accuracy, and the assumed similarity of trait judgments. However, the empathic tendencies for fantasy and personal distress showed more complex patterns of relation.

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Topic Name : Consciousness And Empathy
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Camp Name : Perception Empathy Judgment
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