Nature of Emotions 11 23 09

Nature of Emotions 11 23 09 - Not tied to situations •...

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Nature of Emotions 11 23 09 Empathy and Altruism What is empathy and how does it relate to altruism? o Chapter 2 “I want to explore in detail the nature of affective responses to suffering in others.” o Particularly between mindreading, the affective response to the suffering of others, altruistic motivation Emotional contagion o feeling the same pain someone else is feeling Congruence of affective states No perspective taking needed Present in newborn infants Emotional distress No congruence of affective states o Emotional contagion and distress Empathy: “vicarious sharing affect” Contagion is empathetic, distress is not “reactive distress” Both are self-oriented Tied to situational cues Third kind of reaction to suffering: Concern o Suffering –> pro-social behavior Focus attention on other people
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Unformatted text preview: Not tied to situations • Altruism problem o What motivates pro-social behavior, such as Wesley Autrey’s heroic behavior? o Egoism: all actions are ultimately caused by egoistic ultimate desires o Altruism: some (but not necessarily all) actions are ultimately caused by altruistic ultimate desires • First explanation of Altruism o Hypothesis “Empathetic distress is unpleasant and helping the victim is usually the best way to get rid of the source.” • Problem: If I want to relieve my distress, I should just turn my head or leave. Concretely • Leave the room where someone is suffering • Turning your eyes away • Daniel Batson o Experiment Mock subject is given a fake electrical shock and pretends to suffer Subjects are given the opportunity to take the place of the...
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