The concept of empathy has special significance for the study of cinema as a narrative art form because, from its inception, empathy has been seen as an integral aspect of how people engage with art and come to understand the inner life and emotions of others. Deriving from the German word “Einfühlung,” the term “empathy” dates back to the aesthetic criticism of art historian Robert Vischer in 1873. It was later taken up by psychologist Theodor Lipps (1903) and others in the hermeneutic and phenomenological traditions to refer to “feeling into” an aesthetic object, a natural vista, or another person’s subjective experience in order to develop an experiential understanding of other minds and works of art (see Chapter 7, “Empathy in the aesthetic tradition”). The epistemological function of empathy is an enduring focal point for research about empathy’s role in understanding both art and human experience.