Decety (2011) considers the cognitive neuroscience of empathy and, in particular, his three-component model of empathic responding. His position is highly influential with its emotional awareness/understanding and emotional regulation components representing clear extensions of previous theorizing on empathy. In this brief commentary, I will critically consider the third of his components: affective arousal. In particular, I will consider the implications of the literature to the proposed computations, based on perception-action coupling, that underlie this component of his model. I will suggest that perception-action coupling does not underlie affective arousal but rather that this is mediated by far more simple mechanisms of emotional arousal based on conditioning.
- perception-action coupling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)