Empathy is the emotional reaction to the experience of others. Compassion is the desire and effort to alleviate perceived suffering of others. Although individuals are endowed with capacity for vicarious arousal, learning experiences largely determine the level and pattern of empathic reactions. Sensitivity to emotional displays of others grows out of shared experiences. People, who experience their welfare as linked to the well-being of others, respond empathetically to the joys and sufferings of others. Conversely, competitive experiences, in which another's gains bring suffering to oneself, generate counter-empathy.