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Special Articles   |    
A biological perspective on empathy
Am J Psychiatry 1989;146:10-19.
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Abstract

During the evolution of the primate CNS, organization of neural activity has been shaped by the need for rapid and accurate evaluation of the motivations of others. Using a broad biological approach, the author considers empathy from evolutionary, ontogenetic, and neurophysiological viewpoints. Emotional communication follows a developmental course in primate evolution and in individuals: specialized neural activity and CNS organization subserve the interpretation of social signals. Neurophysiological studies now in progress may shed light on fundamental questions about the nature of empathy.

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