Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Elucidation of the brain correlates of cognitive empathy and self-awareness

Julian Paul Keenan a1 and Mark A. Wheeler a2
a1 Department of Psychology, Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ 07304 [email protected]
a2 Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122 [email protected]


Self-awareness is thought to be tied to processes of higher-order perspective taking including empathy. These abilities appear to be reserved for humans, great apes, and possibly, dolphins. Recent examinations reveal that both self-awareness and empathy may have origins in the right hemisphere. It is possible that, as in language, lateralization plays a key role in the development of higher-order perspective taking and self-awareness.