Today, you get different definitions of empathy depending on who you ask. But most of them would agree with a variation of the following: empathy is the ability to understand and share someone else`s thoughts or feelings. During behavioural measures, evaluators normally assess the presence or absence of certain predefined or ad hoc behaviours in the subjects they monitor. Verbal and non-verbal behaviors were filmed by experimenters like Truax.  Other experimenters, including Mehrabian and Epstein, asked the subjects to comment on their own feelings and behaviors or those of others involved in the experiment in order to indirectly signal to the evaluators their degree of empathic function. Warrier et al., “Genome-Wide Analyses of Self-Reported Empathy: Correlations with Autism, Schizophrenia, and Anorexia Nervosa.” Translational Psychiatry, No. 8 (2018), go.nature.com/2F3Ie9K. Recently, empathy has received a lot of attention from philosophers, psychologists and cognitive neuroscience. Studies have shown here that empathy plays a central role in moral thinking and pro-social behavior, which motivates and inhibits aggression towards others. Batson, Duncan, Ackerman, Buckley and Birch (1981) are part of this movement and propose a hypothesis of empathy and altruism according to which a reliable, purely altruistic action can only occur if the empathic concern for another precedes it.
Other authors define empathic worry as an emotional reaction characterized by feelings such as compassion, tenderness, sympathy, and the sweetness of cordiality (Decety & Agneau, 2006). Conversely, a lack of empathy is considered a leader for aggressive, antisocial behavior (Miller & Eisenberg, 1988) and cruelty (Baron-Cohen, 2011). Other authors consider empathy to be a social emotion, defined as “the ability to put oneself in the mental shoes of another” (Goldman, 1993), a complex form of psychological inference (Ickes, 1997), an affective reaction more suited to the situation of another (Hoffman, 1982), another oriented emotional reaction (Batson et al., 1997), or an affective reaction, which comes from worry or understanding of another`s emotional state (Eisenberg, 2000). In the field of cognitive neuroscience, there is another difference between cognitive empathy, which is the ability to know what another person is thinking and feeling, and affective empathy, which is the ability to actually feel another person`s emotional state (Rueckert & Naybar, 2008). . . .