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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Examining empathy

By Louise Aronson
The Lancet, Volume 384, Issue 9937, pp 16-17, 5 July 2014

Here is an excerpt:

Although some of the eleven essays in the collection relate to medicine, the book considers empathy more broadly. “Another person's pain”, Jamison writes, “registers as an experience in the perceiver: empathy as forced symmetry, a bodily echo”. Jamison examines empathy not just across life choices and illness states but also across cultures, geographical borders, gender, and socioeconomic status. She travels, among other places, to Nicaragua where she's hit in the face during a robbery; to Bolivia where a larva emerges from her ankle after a botfly bite; to West Virginia for a visit to an acquaintance in a prison; and to the wilds of Tennessee to watch a particularly sadistic ultra-marathon. Jamison considers all forms of pain—physical, emotional, and psychological; her own and that of others—and often explores topics both literally and metaphorically.

The entire article is here.