What is empathy, and why does it matter? The term, coined by a contemporary of Freud, goes back to the German word meaning “feeling into.” The English novelist Ian McEwan once wrote, “Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality.”
A slightly more scientific paraphrase might describe empathy as the ability of the brain to accurately mirror the emotions it perceives in another. Marci’s contribution to this field is the discovery that most empathy occurs at an unconscious level, evidence that our brains are hardwired for it.
Several years ago Marci conducted a study in which he sought to quantify empathy. Taking 20 patient/therapist pairs, he and colleagues measured the rate at which skin conducted electrical impulses in these subjects, as determined through their sweat production during sessions.
by David Cameron