ERIC Number: ED113042
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1975-Apr-10
The Development of Altruistic Motivation.
Hoffman, Martin L.
This paper attempts to tie empathy to the individual's development of a cognitive sense of the other, and thus to lay the groundwork for a stage analysis of the development of altruistic motivation. The first stage proposed in this scheme is empathic distress, the involuntary experiencing of another person's painful emotional state. Empathic distress results from the infant's complete fusion of self and other, so that he cannot distinguish another person's distress from his own and thus responds to it as though it were his own. The second stage, sympathetic distress, is divided into three levels. The first level occurs when the child knows that others are separate physical entities but does not realize that they have thoughts and feelings different from his own. At this level, the child can sense the distress of others, and tries to confort them in the same way he himself likes to be comforted. The second level occurs when the child becomes aware of others as sources of thoughts and feelings in their own right and tries to find means of comforting them that are suited to their individual situations. The final level occurs when the child can be sympathetic to the overall life situation of a person or class of people. (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A