Creative empathy: Can it be a new definition to how we experience our emotions? A Brief Introduction.

Simon Baron Cohen, who is the director of Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, mentioned two kinds of empathy: Cognitive and affective empathy. “Cognitive empathy is the ability to imagine somebody else’s thoughts and feelings. Affective empathy is the drive to respond with and appropriate emotion to somebody else’s thoughts and feelings” (1).

These two kinds of empathetic thoughts and feelings occurred after encountering the similar events. For instance, when a person owns a pet, he or she will empathize the other animals strongly. We can see the same situation for parents. After becoming parents, they will develop empathy for other children.

I think these empathetic thoughts and feelings do not need a certain intelligence. These behaviors rather develop instinctively. Moreover, we see examples of this in wildlife, with dogs feeding kittens along with puppies. Therefore, these examples of empathy can be thought as imitative.

Whereas the mankind has an improved cognition that we call intelligence, and they can empathize with the new situations that they have not experienced before. For instance; Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who is the founder of modern Turkey, empathized with Turkish women who did not seek for democratic rights. He gave the right to vote and to be elected in 1934 before many European countries. This historical moment sets an important example to creative empathy.

Creative empathy requires intelligence and revolutionary behavior. It can enhance persons as well as societies.


  1. P. Rueda, P. Fernández-Berrocal & S. Baron-Cohen (2015) Dissociation between cognitive and affective empathy in youth with Asperger Syndrome, European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 12:1, 85-98,

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  1. Great article. However, how does an emotional response mechanism such empathy adapt to the digital age? Does empathy have space to exist in a world of emojis and memes?

  2. sounds very interesting, want to read and learn more about it

  3. Tyler Locey Reply

    Being able to put ourselves in the shoes of others is one of the things that makes us human, thus, creative empathy is a fundamentally human trait — and one we must exercise more often when considering the future of society.

  4. A fascinating article showcasing the different forms of empathy that human beings are capable of.
    Creative Empathy is a milestone in our cognitive and emotional development, possibly ushering in a new era in human societal development.

  5. Certainly an interesting and topical subject in todays society. From my experience it’s not always so easy to ascertain the kind of empathy shown by people (or organisations), but maybe I’m just skeptical. Therefore… with the example given of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk; it’s written that Turkish women did not seek democratic rights. Correct me if I’m wrong, but surely there were SOME women voicing their rights to vote at that time? So, revolutionary, or intelligence used for political gain? Forgive any offense I may cause, I know nothing of Turkish politics! Just playing devils advocate.

  6. So essentially creative empathy is the ability to use empathy for the greater good, and apply human intelligence to the notion. I look forward to seeing more examples!

  7. Mathew Sterling Reply

    I think your article brings up interesting points about maternal instincts and more general empathetic impulses. I like the example about Turkey I learned something new. I would like to no more about the topic, specially what motivates humans to be empathetic on evolutionary terms.

  8. Donnie Tuckabee Reply

    A very thought provoking article that explains the creative empathy in a very clear way.

  9. Hasan Hakan Erdibil Reply

    Clear and understandible. Awakening to a subject we already feel “ instinctively’ but do not notice conciously. Could go much deeper to understand human behaviors. Let’s say a good start and apitizer, already waiting for the coming issues.

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