The benefits of altruism and empathy are obvious. These qualities are so highly regarded and embedded in both secular and religious societies that it seems almost heretical to suggest they can cause harm. Like most good things, however, altruism can be distorted or taken to an unhealthy extreme. Pathological Altruism presents a number of new, thought-provoking theses that explore a range of hurtful effects of altruism and empathy.
Pathologies of empathy, for example, may trigger depression as well as the burnout seen in healthcare professionals. The selflessness of patients with eating abnormalities forms an important aspect of those disorders. Hyperempathy - an excess of concern for what others think and how they feel - helps explain popular but poorly defined concepts such as codependency. In fact, pathological altruism, in the form of an unhealthy focus on others to the detriment of one's own needs, may underpin some personality disorders.
Pathologies of altruism and empathy not only underlie health issues, but also a disparate slew of humankind's most troubled features, including genocide, suicide bombing, self-righteous political partisanship, and ineffective philanthropic and social programs that ultimately worsen the situations they are meant to aid. Pathological Altruism is a groundbreaking new book - the first to explore the negative aspects of altruism and empathy, seemingly uniformly positive traits. The contributing authors provide a scientific, social, and cultural foundation for the subject of pathological altruism, creating a new field of inquiry. Each author's approach points to one disturbing truth: what we value so much, the altruistic "good" side of human nature, can also have a dark side that we ignore at our peril.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||7.30(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Barbara Oakley is an associate professor of engineering at Oakland University in Michigan. Her work focuses on the complex relationship between social behavior and neuroscience. Her books include Cold-Blooded Kindness (Prometheus Books, 2011) and Evil Genes (Prometheus Books, 2007).
Ariel Knafo is a senior lecturer in psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research deals with the genetic and environmental contributions to empathy and altruism and how children's genetics affect their behavior and the way parents react to them.
Guruprasad Madhavan, a bioengineer, is a program officer in policy and global affairs at the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council - collectively called the National Academies - in Washington, DC. He is senior co-editor of Career Development in Bioengineering and Biotechnology (Springer, 2008).
David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. His books include The Neighborhood Project (Little, Brown, 2011), Evolution for Everyone (Delacorte, 2007), Darwin's Cathedral (Chicago, 2002), and Unto Others (Harvard,1998).
Table of Contents
Part I: The Psychology of Altruism
Chapter 1: Pathological Altruism - An Introduction
Barbara Oakley, Ariel Knafo, and Michael McGrath
Chapter 2: Empathy-Based Pathogenic Guilt, Pathological Altruism, and Psychopathology
Lynn E. O'Connor, Jack W. Berry, Thomas Lewis, David J. Stiver
Chapter 3: A Contextual Behavioural Approach to Pathological Altruism
Roger Vilardaga and Steven C. Hayes
Chapter 4: Codependency and Pathological Altruism
Part II: Psychiatric Implications of Pathological Altruism
Chapter 5: Self-Addiction and Self-Righteousness
By David Brin
Chapter 6: Pathological Altruism and Personality Disorder
Thomas A. Widiger and Jennifer Ruth Presnall
Chapter 7: The relevance of pathological altruism to eating disorders
Chapter 8: Animal Hoarding: How the Semblance of a Benevolent Mission Becomes Actualized as Egoism and Cruelty
Jane N. Nathanson and Gary J. Patronek
Chapter 9: Everyone's friend? The case of Williams syndrome
Deborah M Riby, Vicki Bruce, & Ali Jawaid
Part III. Societal implications of pathological altruism
Chapter 10: Pathological Certitude
Chapter 11: Altruism and Suffering in the Context of Cancer: Implications of a Relational Paradigm
Madeline Li, Gary Rodin
Chapter 12: Considering Pathological Altruism in the Law from Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Neuroscience Perspectives
Michael L. Perlin
Chapter 13: Pathological Altruism: Victims and Motivational Types
Brent E. Turvey
Chapter 14: Does No Good Deed Go Unpunished? The Victimology of Altruism
Robert J. Homant and Daniel B. Kennedy
Chapter 15: Suicide Attack Martyrdoms: Temperament and Mindset of Altruistic Warriors
Chapter 16: Genocide: From pathological altruism to pathological obedience
Chapter 17: Too Much of a Good Thing? Foreign Aid and Pathological Altruism
Guruprasad Madhavan and Barbara Oakley
Chapter 18: Was Gandhi A "Pathological Altruist"?
Chapter 19: A Contrarian Perspective on Altruism: The Dangers of First Contact
Chapter 20: Is Pathological Altruism Altruism?
Chapter 21: Altruism, Pathology, and Culture
John W. Traphagan
Part IV. Cultural and evolutionary dimensions of pathological altruism
Chapter 22: Culture-gene coevolution of empathy and altruism
Joan Y. Chiao, Katherine D. Blizinsky, Vani A. Mathur, Bobby K. Cheon
Chapter 23: The Messianic Effect of Pathological Altruism
Jorge M. Pacheco and Francisco C. Santos
Chapter 24: Battered Women, Happy Genes: There Is No Such Thing as Altruism, Pathological or Otherwise
Part V. The development and underlying brain processes of pathological altruism
Chapter 25: Empathy, Guilt, and Depression: When Caring for Others Becomes Costly to Children
Carolyn Zahn-Waxler & Carol Van Hulle
Chapter 26: Autism, Empathizing-Systemizing (E-S) Theory, and Pathological Altruism
Chapter 27: Seduction Super-Responders and Hyper-Trusters: The Biology of Affiliative Behavior
Karol M. Pessin
Chapter 28: Empathic Distress Fatigue Rather than Compassion Fatigue? - Integrating Findings from Empathy Research in Psychology and Social Neuroscience
Olga Klimecki and Tania Singer
Chapter 29: Hell's angels-a runaway model of pathological altruism
Marc D. Hauser
Chapter 30: Altruism gone mad
Joachim I. Krueger
Chapter 31: Pathology, Evolution, and Altruism
David Sloan Wilson
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