Article ID: CBB001251564

Empathy in Translation: Movement and Image in the Psychological Laboratory (2012)


Lanzoni, Susan Marie (Author)

Science in Context
Volume: 25, no. 3
Issue: 3
Pages: 301-327

Publication Date: 2012
Edition Details: Part of the special issue, “The Varieties of Empathy in Science, Art, and History”
Language: English

The new English term empathy was translated from the German Einfühlung in the first decade of the twentieth century by the psychologists James Ward at the University of Cambridge and Edward B. Titchener at Cornell. At Titchener's American laboratory, empathy was not a matter of understanding other minds, but rather a projection of imagined bodily movements and accompanying feelings into an object, a meaning that drew from its rich nineteenth-century aesthetic heritage. This rendering of empathy borrowed kinaesthetic meanings from German sources, but extended beyond a contemplation of the beautiful to include a variety of experimental stimuli and everyday objects in the laboratory. According to Titchener's structural psychology, all higher thought could be reduced to more elemental aspects of mind, and experimental introspection showed empathy to be constituted of kinaesthetic images. The existence of kinaesthetic images, Titchener argued, formed an incisive critique of the view that thought could take place without images, held by one of Titchener's major psychological rivals, the school of thought-psychologists in Würzburg, Germany. The new term empathy in early American academic psychology therefore delineated a kinaesthetic imaginative projection that took place on the basis of ontological difference between minds and things.


Description Focus is on Edward Titchener's work in his laboratory at Cornell University.

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Article Lanzoni, Susan (2012) Introduction: Emotion and the Sciences: Varieties of Empathy in Science, Art, and History. Science in Context (pp. 287-300). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Rose, Anne C.
Goodwin, C. James
Sam Fernández-Garrido
Tousignant, Noemi
Young, Allan
Wassmann, Claudia
Science in Context
History of Psychology
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Science as Culture
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
University of California, Berkeley
Emotions; passions
Experimental psychology
Philosophy of mind
Terminology and nomenclature
Titchener, Edward Bradford
James, William
Tomkins, Silvan Solomon
Wundt, Wilhelm Max
Stein, Gertrude
Münsterberg, Hugo
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
19th century
20th century, late
21st century
18th century
United States
Society of Experimental Psychologists

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