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Development of empathy during early childhood across cultures

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Abstract

In this article, we will highlight what is currently the most accepted definition of empathy, as well as definitions of similar aspects that are relevant for our understanding of empathy but which are conceptually different. This will be followed by a discussion of the underlying mechanisms of affect sharing, the specific component of empathy. In the last sections, we will present what we know about empathy development during the very first 2 years of life across cultures.