Empathy is an “act of great sophistication” necessitating the imagination of the beginning, middle, and possible end of another human being. It has variously been described as a “capacity,” a “behavior,” a “mode of observation,” and as “an information-gathering activity.”
Websters International Dictionary defines empathy as “the capacity for participating in or vicariously experiencing another’s feelings.” Researchers believe that empathy is developed at an early age through the repeated pairing of a child’s feelings with the feelings of caregivers. The capacity can be further developed throughout childhood. In his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman identifies empathy as one of the five “domains” of emotional intelligence.