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Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of emotional states. Types of empathy include cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, and somatic empathy. The English word empathy is derived from the Ancient Greek word εμπάθεια (empatheia, meaning 'physical affection or passion'). This, in turn, comes from εν (en, 'in, at') and πάθος (pathos, 'passion' or 'suffering'). The term was adapted by Hermann Lotze and Robert Vischer to create the German word Einfühlung ('feeling into'), which was translated by Edward B. Titchener into the English word 'empathy'. However, in modern Greek: εμπάθεια means, depending on context,: prejudice, malevolence, malice, and hatred. Alexithymia is a word used to describe a deficiency in understanding, processing or describing emotions in oneself, as opposed to others. This term comes from the combination of two Ancient Greek words: ἀλέξω (alekso, meaning 'push away, repel, or protect') and θυμός (thymos, meaning 'the soul, as the seat of emotion, feeling and thought'). Thus, alexithymia means 'pushing away your emotions'. Empathy definitions encompass a broad range of emotional states, including caring for other people and having a desire to help them; experiencing emotions that match another person's emotions; discerning what another person is thinking or feeling; and making less distinct the differences between the self and the other. It can also be understood as having the separateness of defining oneself and another a blur. It also is 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. Martin Hoffman is a psychologist who studied the development of empathy. According to Hoffman everyone is born with the capability of feeling empathy. Compassion and sympathy are terms associated with 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. Some include in sympathy an empathic concern, a feeling of concern for another, in which some scholars include the wish to see them better off or happier.

[ "Clinical psychology", "Social psychology", "Psychiatry", "Developmental psychology", "cognitive empathy", "Ethnocultural empathy", "Roots of Empathy", "Empathy gap", "Interpersonal Reactivity Index" ]
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