I hope it's okay to post an introduction.

I was very excited to find this community (and even more excited that I could not honestly say "yes" to any of the questions listed in the profile!) I go by the name Lucid both here and often in real life as well. I'm an english major but minor in psychology and have a very firm foundation in it. Although my journal focuses a lot on "feelings" and the occult and things of the like I am very scientifically minded and often times skeptical to a fault.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask me and I look forward to joining in conversations in this community.

  • Current Mood

Recently identified

This is an exciting group! My apologies for not going through the posts yet, but I just can't help but say "Hi!" to everyone. Has anyone here (an empath) directly been part of Empathy Research other than for autism and asperger's?? If this obvious question has already been answered in an earlier post then please don't flame me. I'm still just jumping around with this new find. :)
  • Current Mood
    jubilant jubilant

Interesting in hearing opinions.

Though I am part of the "woo woo" family as you call it, I am aware of the distinct objective definition of empathy in the standard sense. My impression is that empathy is the ability to empathize with another person and their viewpoint, situation, emotions, etc.

I've started meeting people who are unskilled at this to different degrees, either due to one's life history or because they have something like Asperger's. It has got me wondering what the official clinical definition is, what is considered "standard" for the majority of people assuming there is a standard, and what label psychology likes using when it encounters someone without it (again, assuming there is a standard.) Obviously sociopaths lack empathy but there's more to that diagnosis than being without empathy so that doesn't work.

I'd love to read everyone's opinions and comments. :)

Energy Work, Psi, & Vampirism Research Study - Please Participate

Please consider taking a moment over the next few hours or days to sit down and complete the VEWRS and AVEWRS research surveys and submit them via e-mail.  These surveys cover a diversity of topics including but not limited to:  energy work and manipulation (whether by natural ability or raised during magickal ritual), psychic and sanguinarian vampirism, paranormal activities, psi-related experiences, magick, occult, spirituality, therianthropy, otherkin, and awakenings (you do NOT have to identify with modern vampirism to participate in this study).  Any information contained within the surveys that aren’t applicable to your particular situation feel free to choose “Not Applicable” or leave blank when this choice is not given.  The AVEWRS (Part 2) covers the topics outlined above in considerably more detail than the VEWRS (Part 1), therefore, if possible please complete both surveys (in order); submitting individually as they are completed.   If you have any questions (please read the FAQ first) we’re available to answer them via the e-mail address given below.  We thank you for your participation and support of this important research study!

Vampirism & Energy Work Research Study (VEWRS & AVEWRS)
A Detailed Sociological & Phenomenological Examination Of
The Energy Worker & Real Vampire Community
With Secondary Focus On Therianthropy, Otherkin,
& "Awakened" Individuals

VEWRS & AVEWRS Research Study Duration & Response Statistics:
VEWRS = 589+ Days  |  AVEWRS = 457+ Days  |  Combined Response Total: 950+

Background On Study:


This study is a mixed methodological study of specific subcultural social group(s) (or independents) linked by an association with specific reported phenomena and is directed towards both an online and offline audience via quantitative and qualitative dual anonymous surveys. For the detailed purpose, definition and precedent background, ethical and privacy procedures, and all other information regarding this privately funded study please refer to the surveys themselves or the web site listed above.

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"Would The Real Vampires Please Stand Up?"
Blog Contributed By Michelle Belanger - September 2007

TAPS Magazine - October 2007 Special Ed. Issue
"Interview With A Vampire" - Merticus Of Suscitatio & AVA

"Vampires: Fact Or Fiction?" - Interview With Zero & Merticus - November 24, 2007

"Gathering Data with the Vampire: Analyzing Causes and Effects of an
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Annual Conference of American Academy of Religion, November 17, 2007
Joe Laycock, MTS Harvard Divinity School
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New book on empathy

A social-psychological perspective on empathy:

Karsten R. Stueber - Rediscovering Empathy: Agency, Folk Psychology, and the Human Sciences, MIT Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts), London, 2006


1 Empathy and Knowledge of Other Minds: A Historical Perspective
2 Arguing for Empathy Systematically
3 Brief Excursus: Empathy, Sympathy, and Social Psychology

1 Folk Psychology and Rational Agency
1.1 Eliminativism and the Allure of the Detached Conception of Folk Psychology
1.2 Humans as Rational Animals: Clearing Up a Confusion in the Rationality Debate

2 Charity and Rational Contextualism
2.1 In Defense of Global Charity
2.2 Rational Contextualism versus Bounded Rationality

3 The Theory of Mind Debate
3.1 The Theory-Theory Paradigm
3.2 The Simulation Paradigm

4 Basic Empathy and Reenactive Empathy
4.1 Mindreading, Folk-Psychological Concepts, and Mirror Neurons
4.2 The Essential Contextuality and Indexicality of Thoughts as Reasons

5 Folk Psychology and Normative Epistemology
5.1 Empathy, Folk-Psychological Predictions, and Explanations

6 The Limits of Empathy
6.1 Objections and Misconceptions in the Philosophy of Social Science
6.2 Empathy and the Prejudicial Nature of Understanding

Concluding Remarks
  • saizai

Research on neuroscience of empathy

[Originally posted 11/9/07; revised & updated 5/19/09]

I'm currently looking for places to do my PhD on the neuroscience of empathy, and background reading to do before then.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me with this search.

Please comment with links to / names of specific researchers or labs, anywhere in the world, who are doing actual hard research into the neuroscience of empathy or related topics, as well as books on the science thereof. (I.e. same quality as what's here.)

People & Labs:
Directly related
Tania Singer, U. Zurich, Germany - empathy, perspective taking, fairness, altruism, revenge, and reciprocity
Christian Keysers, U. Groningen, Netherlands - neurobio of empathy & mirror neurons
Marco Iacoboni, UCLA, CA, US - mirror neurons & empathy
Jean Decenty (pdfs), U.Chicago, US - antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy, empathy and sympathy, imitation and mimicry, implicit moral reasoning
Jaime Pineda, UCSD, CA, US - brain computer interfaces, mirror neurons, mu rhythms, autism, motivation, attention, addiction, tinnitus
V.S. Ramachandran, UCSD, CA, US (Overview article) - consciousness, phantom limbs, synaesthesia, mirror neuron dysfunction in autism

Indirectly related
Uta Frith, Univ. Coll. London, UK - autism
Simon Baron-Cohen (WP), Cambridge, UK (was Frith's PhD student) - autism, theory of mind
Cecilia Heyes, Univ. Coll. London, UK - imitation, evolution of social cognition
Ralph Adolphs, Caltech, CA & U.Iowa, US - facial recognition, soc. cog. in autism, moral judgments, corpus collosum pathology, emotional/visual connectivity
Richard J. Davidson et al, U.Wisconsin-Madison, US - emotion regulation, aging, memory, developmental psychopathology, mood disorders, meditation
Kevin LaBar, Duke U., NC, US - emotion & cognition, vision, attention, memory, control
Martha Farah et al, U. Pennsylvania, US - neuroethics, mood regulation, neurogenetics
Abigail Marsh, Georgetown, DC, US - altruism, aggression, facial 'accents', recognition of fear & anger
C. Daniel Batson, U. Kansas, US - prosocial emotion, motivation, & behavior (social psych)
James Blair, NIMH, MD, US - neurobiology of anxiety disorder, psychopathy, social phobia, "acquired sociopathy", autism, conduct disorder
Robert Hare, U. British Colombia, Canada - psychopathy
Paul Frick, U. New Orleans, LA, US - childhood psychopathology, lack of empathy / guilt, conscience development

Novartis Foundation, Ralph Adolphs - Empathy and Fairness - BF575.E55 E452 2007
Jaime Pineda - Mirror Neuron Systems: The Role of Mirroring Processes in Social Cognition
Roberto Cabeza - Handbook of Functional Neuroimaging of Cognition, 2nd Edition - QP360.5 .H36 2006
Bob Uttl - Memory and Emotion: Interdisciplanary Perspectives - BF371 .M4478 2006
Richard J. Davidson - Handbook of Affective Sciences - BF511 .H35 2003
Paul Ekman - Emotions Revealed, Second Edition: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life - BF591 .E35 2007
Charles Darwin (ed. Paul Ekman) - The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals - QP401 .D3 1998
Daniel Reisberg - Memory and Emotion - BF378.A87 M46 2004
Marco Iacoboni - Mirroring People - QP363 .I23 2008
Eric Eich et al. - Cognition and Emotion (Counterpoints), Oxford University Press, 2000 - BF311 .C5477 2000
Richard D. Lane, Lynn Nadel, Geoffrey Ahern (editors) - Cognitive Neuroscience of Emotion, Oxford University Press, 2000 - BF531 .C55 2000
Evan Thompson - Between Ourselves : Second-Person Issues in the Study of Consciousness - BF311 .B484 2001
Karsten R. Stueber - Rediscovering Empathy: Agency, Folk Psychology, and the Human Sciences, MIT Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts), London, 2006 - BF64 .S78 2006
James Blair, Derek Mitchell, & Karina Blair - The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain - RC555 .B56 2005
Jean Decety & William Ickes - The Social Neuroscience of Empathy, The MIT Press (April 30, 2009)
Maksim I. Stamenov, Vittorio Gallese - Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language, John Benjamins Publishing Co (December 2002) - QP363.3 .M57 2002
Oliver G. Cameron et al. - Visceral Sensory Neuroscience: Interoception, Oxford University Press, USA (December 15, 2001) - RC343 .C36 2002

Conferences & Workshops:
8th Int'l Conf. on Neuroesthetics - Reflections on mirror neurons
Interdisciplines - What do mirror neurons mean?
Contribution of Mirroring Processes to Human Mindreading

One-off papers:
Khalil, Elias (2007): The Mirror-Neuron Paradox: How Far is Sympathy from Compassion, Indulgence, and Adulation?
Caggiano, Vittorio et al (2009) Mirror Neurons Differentially Encode the Peripersonal and Extrapersonal Space of Monkeys Science, Volume 324, Issue 5925, pp. 403-
Dinstein et al - A mirror up to nature Current Biology, 18:R13-18, 2008
Dinstein et al - Brain areas selective for both observed and executed movements Journal of Neurophysiology, 98:1415-1427, 2007
Dinstein et al - Executed and Observed Movements Have Different Distributed Representations in Human aIPS

Other articles:
Leonie Welberg - Mirror neurons: Towards a clearer image Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9, 888-889 (December 2008)
Olivier Morin - No evidence of Human Mirror Neurons
Vaughan Bell - All smoke and mirror neurons?
Vaughan Bell - Reflected glory
Anne Corwin - Much Ado About Mirror Neurons - Empathy, Autism, and Bias
Scientific American w/ Marco Iacoboni - The Mirror Neuron Revolution: Explaining What Makes Humans Social
Russell Foltz-Smith Mirror Neurons – a fictionalized interview
Antonio Damasio1 & Kaspar Meyer Behind the looking-glass Nature 454, 167-168 (10 July 2008)

New book on empathy

Empathy and Fairness is the proceedings of a symposium on empathy, held in London in 2005.


  1. Chris Frith - Introduction
  2. Vittorio Gallese - Embodied simulation: from mirror neuron systems to interpersonal relations
  3. Tania Singer - The neuronal basis of empathy and fairness
  4. Marc Hauser - What's fair? The unconscious calculus of our moral faculty
  5. Josep Call and Keith Jensen - Chimpanzees may recognize motives and goals, but may not reckon on them
  6. Nancy Eisenberg - Empathy-related responding and prosocial behaviour
  7. General discussion
  8. Paul A. M. Van Lange, Marcello Gallucci, Johan C. Karremans, Anthon Klapwijk and Chris Reinders Folmer - A social interaction analysis of empathy and fairness
  9. Raymond A. Mar and C. Neil Macrae - Triggering the intentional stance
  10. R. James, R. Blair - Dissociable systems for empathy
  11. Ralph Adolphs - Looking at other people: mechanisms for social perception revealed in subjects with focal amygdala damage
  12. Jonathan Wolff - Models of distributive justice
  13. Frédérique de Vignemont - When do we empathize?
  14. Robert Frank - Cooperation through moral commitment
  15. Final discussion
My artwork
  • niblik


(Reposted for introduction)

I read the userinfo. This forum is a much better location for me, as I used to be rather empathic and still am to some degree. Logically, I distinguished between my own emotions and those from my surroundings -- I recognize, acknowledge, and understand the differences.

I think of empathy as being an interpretation of part of the 2 billion (if I remember correctly) pieces of data input we get per second. As such, I can understand some people being overwhelmed -- their filters aren't adjusted correctly (meaning that they are paying attention to too much or too little of the massive amount of data we take in per second and need to adjust themselves accordingly).

My current personal studies tend toward psychology, social dynamics, social psychology and sociology. I have also studied energy (chi/ki/qi) - with a mild understanding of accupressure; but, a dislike of needles to actually go through with learning accupuncture.

Correlations can be made between the number of pirates decreasing and global warming! That's right, we need more pirates if we are to truly resolve global warming! The causality, however, shows that neither have anything to do with each other.