Tracy L. Spinrad, Nancy Eisenberg, Amanda Sheffield Morris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter offers an overview of research into empathy-related responding in children. We begin this review by differentiating empathy, sympathy, and personal distress reactions and discuss relevant theoretical issues when conceptualizing these emotions. Next, we provide a review of the normative development of empathy-related responding. We consider the role of empathy-related responding in children’s prosocial behavior, social competence, and adjustment, and we highlight the role of self-regulation on children’s empathy-related responding. We also review research on the origins of empathy-related responding, including hereditary and environmental factors, and emerging research on the neuroscience of empathy-related responding and prosocial behavior. We conclude with a brief discussion of implications and future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Moral Development, Third Edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781000604443
ISBN (Print)9780367497569
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Psychology


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