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"I'm very taken by mythology. I read it at a very early age and kept on reading it. Before I discovered science fiction I was reading mythology."
- Roger Zelazny

Empath  
  A being capable of telepathic empathy with others.  

It seems fair to assume that this word is modeled on "telepath", but see the discussion below.

"How exactly does the government use empaths?" Tim shrugged. "We can tell the level of a man's loyalty just by meeting him. We can walk around a factory and sense that there's going to be a strike."
From Empath, by J.T. McIntosh.
Published by New Worlds in 1956
Additional resources -

How does it work? One character explains it:

"It isn't telepathy. No one can pick words or ideas out of another person's brain - yet. It's a sensitivity to atmosphere, to aura. To feelings... You can't tell what's going to happen, or what people are thinking. You can just feel things - and guess."

The origin of this word seems straightforward enough, but if you look, you can find it earlier. Bear with me.

John FM Dovaston wrote a long poem Fitz-Gwarine: A Ballad of the Welsh Border in Three Cantos in 1811. It contains these lines:

Lord, when I look upon thy starry sky
With pearls empath'd like scatter'd dust of gold,
I humble me, lost in amazement high,
To think what he thy gifted son hath told,
Far-sighted Newton; that round each are roll'd
Un-number'd worlds.

Science fiction fans feel right at home in these lines. In The Empath episode of Star Trek: TOS, when Scotty learns about Gem, the young woman empath, he says "Scott comments that she must have been a "pearl of great price" and they all agree. Yes, the "pearl of great price" is a parable from the book of Matthew, but is there some sort of in-joke here that I don't know about?

The Star Trek TOS episode The Empath (1968) was striking enough that I remember it from childhood. In Star Trek: TNG, one of the main characters is an empath, counselor Deanna Troi.

Compare to the Voight-Kampff Empathy Test from m Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968) Philip K. Dick and the empathy box originally from The Little Black Box (1964) also by Dick.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Empath
  More Ideas and Technology by J.T. McIntosh
  Tech news articles related to Empath
  Tech news articles related to works by J.T. McIntosh

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