Ape Empathy: BBS Call for Commentators

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Sep 2, 2001, 3:14:56 PM9/2/01
[NOTE: This is a BBS Call for Commentators, not a Psycoloquy Call]

Below is the abstract of a forthcoming BBS target article
Empathy: Its ultimate and proximate bases

Stephanie D. Preston & Frans B. M. de Waal


This article has been accepted for publication in Behavioral and Brain
Sciences (BBS), an international, interdisciplinary journal providing
Open Peer Commentary on important and controversial current research in
the biobehavioral and cognitive sciences.

Commentators must be BBS Associates or nominated by a BBS Associate. To
be considered as a commentator for this article, to suggest other
appropriate commentators, or for information about how to become a BBS
Associate, please reply by EMAIL within three (3) weeks to:


The Calls are sent to 10,000 BBS Associates, so there is no expectation
(indeed, it would be calamitous) that each recipient should comment
on every occasion! Hence there is no need to reply except if you wish
to comment, or to nominate someone to comment.

If you are not a BBS Associate, please approach a current BBS
Associate (there are currently over 10,000 worldwide) who is familiar
with your work to nominate you. All past BBS authors, referees and
commentators are eligible to become BBS Associates. A full electronic
list of current BBS Associates is available at this location to help
you select a name:


If no current BBS Associate knows your work, please send us your
Curriculum Vitae and BBS will circulate it to appropriate Associates to
ask whether they would be prepared to nominate you. (In the meantime,
your name, address and email address will be entered into our database
as an unaffiliated investigator.)

To help us put together a balanced list of commentators, please give
some indication of the aspects of the topic on which you would bring
your areas of expertise to bear if you were selected as a commentator.

To help you decide whether you would be an appropriate commentator for
this article, an electronic draft is retrievable from the online
BBSPrints Archive, at the URL that follows the abstract below.


Empathy: Its ultimate and proximate bases

Stephanie D. Preston
Department of Psychology
3210 Tolman Hall #1650
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-1650

Frans B. M. de Waal
Living Links,
Yerkes Primate Center and Psychology Department,
Emory University,
Atlanta, GA 30322


altruism; cognitive empathy; comparative; emotion;
emotional contagion; empathy; evolution; human; perception-action;
perspective taking;


There is disagreement in the literature about the exact nature of the
phenomenon of empathy. There are emotional, cognitive, and conditioning
views, applying in varying degrees across species. An adequate description
of the ultimate and proximate mechanism can integrate these views.
Proximately, the perception of an object's state activates the subject's
corresponding representations, which in turn activate somatic and
autonomic responses. This mechanism supports basic behaviors (e.g., alarm,
social facilitation, vicariousness of emotions, mother-infant
responsiveness, and the modeling of competitors and predators) that are
crucial for the reproductive success of animals living in groups. The
"Perception-Action Model" (PAM) together with an understanding of how
representations change with experience can explain the major empirical
effects in the literature (similarity, familiarity, past experience,
explicit teaching and salience). It can also predict a variety of empathy
disorders. The interaction between the PAM and prefrontal functioning can
also explain different levels of empathy across species and age groups.
This view can advance our evolutionary understanding of empathy beyond
inclusive fitness and reciprocal altruism and can explain different levels
of empathy across individuals, species, stages of development, and


Please do not prepare a commentary yet. Just let us know, after having
inspected it, what relevant expertise you feel you would bring to bear
on what aspect of the article. We will then let you know whether it was
possible to include your name on the final formal list of invitees.



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Please see: http://www.eprints.org

(2) All authors in the biobehavioral and cognitive sciences are
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Authors of BBS papers wishing to archive their already published
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Information about the archiving of BBS' entire backcatalogue will
be sent to you in the near future. Meantime please see:


(3) Call for Book Nominations for BBS Multiple Book Review

In the past, Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) had only been able
to do 1-2 BBS multiple book treatments per year, because of our
limited annual page quota. BBS's new expanded page quota will make
it possible for us to increase the number of books we treat per
year, so this is an excellent time for BBS Associates and
biobehavioral/cognitive scientists in general to nominate books you
would like to see accorded BBS multiple book review.

(Authors may self-nominate, but books can only be selected on the
basis of multiple nominations.) It would be very helpful if you
indicated in what way a BBS Multiple Book Review of the book(s) you
nominate would be useful to the field (and of course a rich list of
potential reviewers would be the best evidence of its potential


PSYCOLOQUY is a refereed electronic journal (ISSN 1055-0143)
sponsored by the American Psychological Association

Submissions are acknowledged automatically.

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