Address for correspondence: Peter Paul Zurek, c/o Herbert Scheithauer, Freie Universität Berlin, Arbeitsbereich Entwicklungswissenschaft und Angewandte Entwicklungspsychologie, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin, Germany. E-mail: [email protected].
Note:  This review is partially based on the introductory chapters of P. P. Zurek’s doctoral dissertation (Zurek, 2015), which was defended at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, in 2015.
Abstract: Empathy entails basic cognitive processes such as the recognition of facial expressions and basic emotional processes such as emotional contagion, but also higher-order cognitive processes such as abstract reasoning about the other person’s emotional states and higher-order emotional processes such as empathic concern. Thus, empathy must be conceptualized as a multidimensional and multifaceted construct. It can be differentiated from related constructs such as theory of mind, emotional contagion, compassion, emotional mimicry, or perspective-taking by its associated processes and functions. To understand the nature of empathy, it is important to combine phylogenetic, ontogenetic, neuroscientific, dynamic-interactionist, and sociological perspectives on this phenomenon.
Keywords: Empathy, theory of mind, emotional contagion, emotional development