Publisher: Nova Science Pub Inc; UK ed. edition (January 1, 2008)
Empathy is a concept that has been widely researched across the social sciences and, more importantly, is commonly used outside of academe as a method “to open-up the channel of communication with the other” (Wikipedia, 2006). Although commonly employed colloquially, empathy is challenging to define explicitly and, hence, we shall need to begin this chapter with some conceptual wood-clearing. Prior definitions reflect the specific contexts in which empathy was measured and studied. For instance, a study measuring empathy as a response to media defines empathy differently than a study that examines empathy as an interpersonal communication construct – and these definitions are not mutually exclusive or disparate. Instead, different definitions are a result of the various dimensions of empathy that researchers choose to highlight as a function of the particular empirical study’s focus. For this reason, many individuals may find empathy easier to enact than to describe its meaning in words.
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