For many, compassion has often been considered an over indulgence in kindness – perhaps even foolish in times of mediation, negotiation, divorce or war.
It’s not been the first skill we call upon when we’re fighting for our jobs, our homes, or our freedom. However, times have shifted and we need a new set of skills to navigate the complexity in our everyday. I am most interested in the conversation we can have when we consider the recent neuroscience on how we can train our brains to be compassionate.
If compassion is a learned capability, can we align and elevate ourselves with Buddhist psychology – that compassion is a natural part of being human –a part of our best selves and something worth claiming?
What might our lives look like if we all practiced compassion?
Let’s consider together what is possible if we trained ourselves to be compassionate leaders in our places of business, our community, and the world. Read more about Mary.
A study has observed that a group of clinically diagnosed psychopaths exhibited improved behavior after playing a video game that attempted to teach them empathy.
According to Yale University's press team, which has summarized the findings from one of its psychologists, games can help feed helpful information to psychopaths that they tend to naturally overlook.
"Psychopaths generally do not feel fear and fail to consider the emotions of others, or reflect upon their behavior--traits that make them notoriously difficult to treat," the university's press team claims.
Here is the short version of the short version: The deep, underground history of empathy is surfaced and reconstructed in Hume, Kant, Lipps, Freud, Scheler, Stein, and Husserl. A Rumor of Empathy is engaged in vicarious feeling, receptivity, empathic understanding, empathic interpretation, and empathic intersubjectivity.
A rumor of empathy becomes a scandal of empathy in Lipps’ projections and Strachey’s mistranslations. Empathy is reconstructed in Hume’s many meanings of “sympathy”; in Kant on “the communicability of feelings” and “enlarged thinking” of the other; in Freud’s introspection and free association; in Scheler’s “vicarious experience” and perception of The Other; in Stein’s sensual empathy; and in Husserl’s late writing on empathic windows of consciousness accessing other persons as Husserl’s empathy moves from the periphery to the foundation of community.
Yet when all the philosophical arguments and categories are complete, the phenomenological methods reduced, and hermeneutic circles spun out, in empathy, we are quite simply in the presence of another human being.
For those who knew Michael Franz Basch personally, see the tribute to him in the Preface – an empathic moment indeed. The work is also available as a more reasonably priced electronic version. Available to ship as of this date (2014/11/24).
This educational video explores empathy in the listening and speaking of the community of psychologists, psychotherapists, and those committed to emotional and human well-being.
That about covers it. Where is empathy present and where is it missing? Should one expect the therapist to cry with you if the trauma is really, really sad? What if she or he does cry anyway? How does this relate to music therapy? Neurology? Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)? How does empathy relate to the “circle of caring”? All these questions and more are engaged. Not to be missed!
Note: All the usual disclaimers apply. This is a good faith, best effort to expand empathy in the world by capturing the experiences and narrative of a significant individual for educational purposes.
Author Dr. Thomas Lewis discusses "The Neuroscience of Empathy" as part of the Authors@Google series.
Thomas Lewis, M.D. is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, and a former associate director of the Affective Disorders Program there. Dr. Lewis currently divides his time between writing, private practice, and teaching at the UCSF medical school.
Mental health advocates have long pointed to the biological mechanisms that contribute to the development of mental health problems. If people aren’t to blame for their mental health, the theory goes, then doctors and others will treat mental health problems just like diabetes or cancer. According to a Yale University study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, though, biological information could actually reduce empathy.
Why Does Biological Information Reduce Empathy? Matthew Lebowitz, the Yale graduate student who lead the study, argues that emphasizing biological causes can be dehumanizing. Previous research published by the same authors suggests that biological data can also affect how people feel about a diagnosis.
According to that study, people with depression felt less hopeful about their ability to recover if they believed depression was primarily caused by biological factors
by Zawn Villines
Cohen, R. (2014, December 05). Biological psychiatric problems garner less empathy. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/05/us-empathy-psychology-patients-idUSKCN0JJ27G20141205
WE ALL know the stereotype: women are better at empathy than men. Now Queensland scientists reckon they’ve proved it.
After pooling data from thousands of in-depth interviews with Australians, they found women were far more likely to feel their partner’s emotional pain than men.
When a negative event befalls their partner, women tend to experience an emotional effect roughly 24 per cent as large as if the event happened to themselves, they found.
We looked at people who had negative shocks in their lives, such as the death of a friend, losing a job or becoming ill,” said Professor Paul Frijters of University of Queensland, who conducted the study with Dr Cindy Mervin of Griffith University.
You might think empathy is just a touchie-feelie hippie notion, but it’s also smart business. In today’s technology-driven, often impersonal world, empathy can be your competitive advantage. When you have an empathetic culture, employees have a better understanding of market needs. They build tighter relationships with customers and create products they want. And they work together better as a team. For a small business, this can mean exponentially faster growth.
Here’s how we make empathy part of our culture at Desk and some tips to help your own business leverage it for growth:
Companionate love is shown “when colleagues who are together day in and day out, ask and care about each other’s work and even non-work issues,” Barsade says. “They are careful of each other’s feelings.
They show compassion when things don’t go well. And they also show affection and caring — and that can be about bringing somebody a cup of coffee when you go get your own, or just listening when a co-worker needs to talk.”-
The importance of empathy in relationships is hotly debated. Can a relationship survive without empathy? Let's find it out.
Relationships go through varied emotional states. Though all of them have their own importance, sadness is one of the most important states a person in a relationship goes through. When your significant other is in some pain, you need to be there for them not only physically but also mentally and emotionally.
This is where emotional quotient comes in, the capability to understand what your partner is going through. It can be a state of happiness or sadness or some other feeling.
Many relationships fall apart just because there is no empathy in the relationship. Empathy is what, at the end of the day, makes two individuals in love become one.
These are the changemaking skills of empathy, innovation, new teamwork and new leadership. As STEM skills help us learn the latest technologies—changemaking skills can help us flourish in a society transitioning from hierarchical to flat, fast moving networks.
Each of the changemaking skills is key, but I’ll focus on the most important one—empathy.
In our increasingly interconnected world, one’s actions have a bigger impact on others and can create tremendous positive or negative outcomes in record time. From the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, ISIS, the Ice Bucket Challenge, and the increasing rate at which new companies and industries are forming and collapsing—change that traditionally took decades is now happening in months.
Hierarchical systems of authority are increasingly struggling to keep up. The systemic solution is to help everyone develop the new skills needed to get along with others in a flat, fast-moving world.
We have already seen the power of empathetic and decisive people successfully leading and navigating in this new world.
The fear that the growing popularity of online computer games, Skype and email is destroying the ability of people to develop essential interpersonal skills is unfounded, according to a study by a team of US-based academics.
Their research focused on what psychologists call “collective intelligence”, which describes how people tend to be able to achieve more than they could on their own, by working effectively together in teams.
Since that time, hundreds if not thousands of articles have been published on mirror neurons. They have been credited with generating empathy in humans, fostering love between people, and providing new hope in the research on autism. Yet, the term and the idea of “mirror neurons” continue to prompt considerable controversy.
Some researchers argue that empirical evidence for the existence of any neurons that function as “mirrors” is scant, while others suggest that neuroscience has yet to fully grasp the implications of neurons behaving in this way.
Regardless of the final direction of these debates, the discussion about mirror neurons has pressed neuroscience into new frontiers, and it has suggested new avenues of inquiry for not only scientists, but doctors and psychologists.
Among those avenues is a relatively recent field of study called interpersonal neurobiology.
While mirror neurons are not the explicit foundation of the new field, the growth of it is virtually unimaginable without the discoveries by Rizzolatti and his Parma team.
Three criteria are front and center in selecting a psychotherapist: empathy, schedule, and cost. One might say “empathy, empathy, and empathy,” but cost and schedule are important too.
These are not the only variables. For example, academic degrees and diplomas, professional certifications or equivalent publications and experience, insurance benefits, location, and Internet reputation (say, on Facebook or LinkedIn) are also criteria.
Okay, I am just kidding about Facebook; but don’t laugh too hard, we are heading in that direction.The challenge faced by most prospective patients or clients, who are searching for a therapist, is that once they are in an emotional emergency, there is no time to interview several prospective psychotherapists to find a good fit. This is a case for having a periodic emotional check up just as one would have a physical check up in order to establish a relationship against a possible future crisis...
Empathy is different than interpersonal chemistry – that certain something = X that just clicks between two people such that they know they can work together. Yet empathy is the basis for this chemistry and fans out into multiple forms of relatedness and possibilities of understanding.
As a child, I used to believe that empathy required experiencing the exact same situation or conditions as another person in order to understand their experiences. However, Levine Museum has changed that perception.
On a national level, practicing empathy reforms our current understanding of voice and representation.
. Classical museums, and even classical education as a whole, have persisted in teaching people that only dominant voices are worth recording. However, Levine Museum is participating in a movement of educational museums that value community voice and reduce the authority of the curator. For far too long museum design has been in the hands of curators and museum professionals. As museums reform, visitors can look forward to seeing institutions that better reflect the community.
Mental disorders are increasingly understood biologically. We tested the effects of biological explanations among mental health clinicians, specifically examining their empathy toward patients. Conventional wisdom suggests that biological explanations reduce perceived blameworthiness against those with mental disorders, which could increase empathy.
Yet, conceptualizing mental disorders biologically can cast patients as physiologically different from “normal” people and as governed by genetic or neurochemical abnormalities instead of their own human agency, which can engender negative social attitudes and dehumanization.
This suggests that biological explanations might actually decrease empathy.
Indeed, we find that biological explanations significantly reduce clinicians’ empathy. This is alarming because clinicians’ empathy is important for the therapeutic alliance between mental health providers and patients and significantly predicts positive clinical outcomes.
Whatever your role, to get anything done, "everybody needs to be able to drive consensus," says Jon Kolko, author of the new book Well Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love.
While Kolko’s career has looked at how smart designers can identify needs in order to solve problems people didn’t know they had, empathy turns out to be an important business skill no matter what you do.
Industry disruption is possible by focusing on providing deep, meaningful engagement to people that use your products or services. This is achieved by designing products that seem as though they have a personality, or even a soul. In this talk, you’ll learn how to achieve this, by leveraging design in a product management capacity. You’ll learn an end to end process that uses empathy to create products people love.
Well Designed offers an end-to-end process with specific, proven methods and techniques. Through example and lessons, as well as interviews with product managers for some of the world's best-known products and services, readers will learn how to use a process of design thinking to develop their own engaging products. They will learn:
That empathy is the key to building meaningful products, and empathy can be taught and learned...
Empathy in business dealings, especially for the entrepreneur, are vital to maintaining sustainable success.
Entrepreneurs are surrounded by people who they need to understand, from shareholders or investors, to employees and customers. When an entrepreneur is in tune with the perspectives and needs of these parties, the business will be strengthened. The connection provides the entrepreneur with insights to run their business optimally.
Kozo Hattori interviewed researchers and spiritual leaders about how to raise compassionate boys. This is what he discovered.
Searching for an answer, I read widely and sought out public figures who have dedicated their lives to exploring and advocating for the alleviation of suffering—Dr. Rick Hanson, Dr. Dacher Keltner, Dr. Dan Siegel, Thich Nhat Hanh, Father Richard Rohr, and others.
From this research, I concluded that cultivating compassion really is the best way to protect our boys from violence—or, as Hanh says, “Compassion protects you more than guns, bombs, and money.” From their combined scientific and spiritual perspectives, a four-fold process for cultivating this resource in boys emerged.
Touch: When UC Berkeley professor and GGSC co-founder Dacher Keltner researched the power of touch for human development and relationships, he discovered a surprising gender difference: ....
Push Gender Boundaries: In the trailer for the film, The Mask You Live In, former NFL player Joe Ehrman claims that “the three most destructive words that every man receives when he is a boy is when he is told to ‘Be A Man.’” ...
Be a role model - Almost all the compassionate men I interviewed had a compassionate role model...
Cultivate stillness - A recent paper from Timothy D. Wilson and colleagues at the University of Virginia and Harvard University revealed incredibly strong resistance in men to silence and stillness....
On 17th September 2013 we held our fourth annual lecture, "Zero Degrees of Empathy: Exploring explanations of human cruelty & kindness". Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge delivered the keynote speech, and the lecture was followed by a panel discussion with Mary Foley, Peter Woolf and Marina Cantacuzino, chaired by Simon Fanshawe.
11:30 - cruelty the result of Evil.. Evil is defined as the absence of good. Did something bad because they are not good. Empathy is a better term.
cognitive and affective empathy
20:00 cruelty is the loss of effective empathy -
goes back to Martin Buber - see people as people or as object
21:00 empathy bell curve.
How to lose empathy
due to obedience to authority
like terrorists and their beliefs
eugenics is USA
in-group and out-group - Ie Rwanda
Psychopaths - Ted Bunde
29:00 psychopaths don't' have empathy
Autism - difficulty with cognitive empathy
32:00 John Bolby studies childhood causes of psychopaths
genes and environment
Genes and testosterone
35:00 location of empathy in the brain - brain regions
person with brain damage
Jeane Decety - pain studies
37:30 - teaching empathy
38:30 high empathy people
building friendship across the political divide
is empathy fixed? feel empathy for people who lack empathy
It's time for us to put down the idea that we have to think well of ourselves at all times to be mature, successful, functional, mentally healthy individuals.
Indeed, this toxic idea can foster a kind of narcissistic ego-based self-story that is bound to blow up on us. Instead of increasing self-esteem content what we need to do is increase self-compassion as the context of all we do.
That deflates ego-based self-stories, as we humbly accept our place as one amongst our fellow human beings, mindfully acknowledging that we all have self-doubt, we all suffer, we all fail from time to time, but none of that means we can't live a life of meaning, purpose, and compassion for ourselves and others.
Teach that to our young people, and we will have provided them a real skill they can use in the real world all their lives.
Perceiving others in pain generally leads to empathic concern, consisting of both emotional and cognitive processes.
Empathy deficits have been considered as an element contributing to social difficulties in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and short video clips of facial expressions of people experiencing pain to examine the neural substrates underlying the spontaneous empathic response to pain in autism.
Thirty-eight adolescents and adults of normal intelligence diagnosed with ASD and 35 matched controls participated in the study. In contrast to general assumptions, we found no significant differences in brain activation between ASD individuals and controls during the perception of pain experienced by others. Both groups showed similar levels of activation in areas associated with pain sharing, evidencing the presence of emotional empathy and emotional contagion in participants with autism as well as in controls.