Informations and abstract
Keywords: Empathy; Abuse; Coexistence; Normality; Variables; Modulation.
Recent neuroscientific discoveries show the existence of an empathic brain mechanism through which human beings immediately recognized emotions and feelings of other people, by their embodied simulation. What might be asked is what happens to empathy when an individual oppress someone else. A neuroscientific attempt to approach this topic could be found in the recent proposal from Baron-Cohen, according to which the abuse is always related to an abnormal functioning of a single individual psyche and, more specifically, to an irreversible mental illness, or to a momentary emotional shock. Starting from the philosophical approach of Hannah Arendt's "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil" (1963), here I try to investigate how a series of cultural, social, or situation-dependent variables that cannot be reduced to the individual mind, could affect human behavior and induce ordinary people to prevaricate on others. I will review some neuroscientific experiments showing how the empathic brain mechanisms could be modulated by stereotypes and prejudices. Furthermore, I will presents a series of evidences from Social Psychology, from real historical facts, as well as elements taken from everyday life, to formulate some assumptions about the relationship between empathy and abuse and their coexistance in human beings.