Comment: Is self-other overlap the key to understanding empathy?

Nancy Eisenberg, Michael J. Sulik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Preston and Hofelich (2012) suggested that researchers disagree on the role of self-other overlap in empathy due to a failure to differentiate among neural overlap, subjective resonance, and personal distress; they also developed a framework for tying neural and subjective overlap to various aspects of functioning they include in the construct of empathy. Although we found their discussion of different processes that have been labeled empathy interesting and helpful, we found their discussion of self-other overlap to be somewhat less useful for conceptualizing differences among empathy-related processes. In addition, we provide an alternative perspective to their reasoning regarding the role of experience and neural overlap in an aspect of empathy-related responding (e.g., concern or compassion).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-35
Number of pages2
JournalEmotion Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • empathy
  • personal distress
  • self-other overlap
  • sympathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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