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Indiana University Bloomington
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Fritz Breithaupt

Professor Germanic Studies
Adjunct Professor Comparative Literature
Office: GA 3117
Phone: (812) 855-4551

See also: Professor Breithaupt's homepage


  • Ph.D., John Hopkins University, 1997

Research Interests

Literature and cognitive science; empathy; narrative; German & European literature, philosophy, and culture since 1700; aesthetics; intellectual history of money, Goethe

My research focusses on narratives and on empathy. In my lab, we study narratives and narrative thinking through a variety of methods, including serial reproduction. Put more simply: we play the telephone game with large numbers of people who retell stories for us. Our goals are to better understand the way we use narratives and to utilize narratives to improve learning and human interactions. In my work on empathy, I use phenomenological approaches to study the triggers of empathy. One of my contributions to the field is the three-person model of empathy. Recent publications include: Die dunklen Seiten der Empathie (The dark sides of empathy), Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2017. Kultur der Ausrede (Culture of Excuse), Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2012. “A Three-Person Model of Empathy” in: Emotion Review 4 (January 2012), 84-91.