1. Evolutionary Biology
Download icon

Social Psychology: A mathematical look at empathy

  1. Naoki Masuda  Is a corresponding author
  2. Francisco C Santos
  1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom
  2. Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
Insight
Cite this article as: eLife 2019;8:e47036 doi: 10.7554/eLife.47036
1 figure

Figures

Reputation and empathy.

Reputations have an important role in decisions to co-operate: for example, Alice will decide to cooperate with Bob if he has a good reputation, and decide to not cooperate if he has a bad reputation. Consider the case in which an observer (Chloe) witnesses Alice deciding not to help Bob because Alice believes that Bob is bad. In the absence of empathy (E=0; left), Chloe's opinion of Alice is based solely on the Chloe's existing opinion of Bob; that is, Chloe thinks Alice is bad because she thinks Bob is good. However, when Chloe has complete empathy for Alice (E=1; right), Chloe's opinion of Bob is based on Alice's opinion of Bob: that is, Chloe accepts Bob is bad because Alice thinks he is bad. Radzvilavicius et al. have explored the effect of empathy on co-operation when there is no consensus about reputations.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)