The Cambridge Dictionaries define the word compassion as:

a strong feeling of sympathy and sadness for the suffering or bad luck of others and a wish to help them

A sample might be when you see a homeless kid, suffering the cold of the winter, and you would like to help him have a warm home for at least one night. This desire is very powerful in some people, such that they become altruists (preferring benefits of others over their personal benefits) and very weak in some other people (egoists who prefer their benefits over benefit of other people).

Is there any analysis for this attribute in cognitive sciences (or behaviorism)? By any analysis I mean are they being studied under the domain of cognitive sciences or not, and if so, what are the most known and accepted theories for them?

  • $\begingroup$ Could you flesh out what you mean by "any analysis". Are you asking if these issues have been studied under these particular schools of thought? $\endgroup$ – Chuck Sherrington Oct 19 '13 at 23:14
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I mean are they been studied, and if so, what are the most known and accepted theories for them? $\endgroup$ – Saeed Neamati Oct 20 '13 at 4:47
  • $\begingroup$ Got it. You may want to edit that into the question just so it's clear. Thanks for clarifying! $\endgroup$ – Chuck Sherrington Oct 20 '13 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ @ChuckSherrington, thanks for your feedback. I updated the question. $\endgroup$ – Saeed Neamati Oct 20 '13 at 4:52
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, these concepts are studied in the cognitive sciences. There is much interdisciplinary research on altruism and empathy. I fear it would be impossible to give a satisfactory answer here, because the question is too broad. $\endgroup$ – user7759 May 12 '15 at 8:53