The role of empathy in the formation and maintenance of social bonds

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (1):21-22 (2001)

Abstract

A primary function of empathy is to help individuals form and maintain social bonds. Empathy should thus occur only when individuals seek to solidify social bonds, and not in response to any opportunity to process others' emotions. Empathy should also involve only certain types of emotion – specifically, emotions that facilitate social bonds – and not any and all types of emotion.

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