Fritz Breithaupt

Fritz Breithaupt

Provost Professor, Cognitive Science

Provost Professor, Germanic Studies

Director of Graduate Studies, Cognitive Science


  • Ph.D., John Hopkins University, 1997

Research interests

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.

Representative publications

The dark sides of empathy (2019)
Fritz Breithaupt
Cornell University Press.

Opting for Violence and then Enjoying it (2019)
Victoria LaGrange, Claire Woodward, Benjamin Hiskes, Binyan Li, and Fritz Breithaupt

Fact vs. Affect in the Telephone Game: All Levels of Surprise are Retold with High Accuracy, Even Independently of Facts (2018)
Fritz Breithaupt, Binyan Li, Torrin Liddell, Eleanor Brower, & Sarah Whaley
Frontiers of Psychology,

Empathy and Aesthetics (2018)
Fritz Breithaupt
Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft (ZÄK), 63 45-60

The bad things we do because of empathy (2018)
Fritz Breithaupt
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 43 (2), 166-174

The Oxford handbook of cognitive literary studies (2015)
Lisa Zunshine
Oxford Handbooks.

Empathic Sadism. How Readers Get Implicated (2015)
Fritz Alwin Breithaupt
Oxford University Press. 440-462

Culturas de la empatía (2011)
Fritz Breithaupt
Katz Editores.