Are we lacking empathy in modern society? Have we become so distant from one another that we no longer connect with or “feel” for others?
The charity Empathy Museum is an international travelling project which gives visitors the chance to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes (literally) and see the world through a different set of eyes. Enter a giant shoebox for a transformative experience or visit the library where emotive descriptions invite you to try books you may once have passed on. You can also visit the Human Library which is just like any other library except that the books are people with stories to share.
This quietly powerful film looks at the need for empathy in our society through the eyes of the museum’s participants and the experiences of two Human Library books.
start with values, not policies and facts and numbers. Say what you believe, but haven’t been saying. For example, progressive thought is built on empathy, on citizens caring about other citizens and working through our government to provide public resources for all, both businesses and individuals...
Third, keep out of nasty exchanges and attacks. Keep out of shouting matches. One can speak powerfully without shouting. Obama sets the pace: Civility, values, positivity, good humor, and real empathy are powerful.
Calmness and empathy in the face of fury are powerful. Bill Clinton won because he oozed empathy, with his voice, his eye contact, and his body. It wasn’t his superb ability as a policy wonk, but the empathy he projected and inspired....
And remember JFK’s immortal, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Empathy, devotion, love, pride in our country’s values, public resources to create freedoms. And adulthood
The empathy-based curriculum has been established at our school for several years now, and we have recently received international recognition for this work.
In 2014, Francis Street CBS was selected to become an Ashoka “changemaker” school — one of only five in Ireland. With more than 200 schools in Europe, Africa and the US, Ashoka schools form a global network of peer institutions that share a commitment to fostering empathy, creativity, teamwork and leadership among their students.
Sharing insights and ideas with like-minded educators convinced me that the commitment to teaching empathy is a truly global one, and I feel hopeful and inspired for the future of our students.
To have a healthy, strong relationship, it's important for you and your partner to feel deeply connected with each other. While it may be easier to maintain this during the honeymoon phase, being vulnerable in your relationship and finding ways to be more empathetic to your partner can help with strengthening that emotional bond.
Being empathetic means you're aware of someone's emotions from their perspective; you feel what they feel. Although it's important to be empathetic in every personal connection you have, it's vital to maintaining a long-lasting romantic relationship with your partner...
Here are nine ways you can become more empathic with your partner.
1. Put Yourself In Their Shoes.. 2. Communicate About Their Emotions... 3. Be Active By Asking Questions... 4. Learn To Withhold Judgement... 5. Take Some Of Your Partner's Responsibilities... 6. Consider Your Partner's Wants & Needs... 7. Learn How To Be More Empathetic On Your Own Time... 8. Be Present When Your Partner Needs You... 9. Strive For Compassion...
Researchers generally define empathy as the “ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling,” and it’s a skill that by the time we reach adulthood, we should be well versed in.
There are actually two types of empathy: “affective” empathy, which describes the sensations and feelings one has in response to other people's emotions, and “cognitive” empathy or “perspective taking”, which describes the ability to identify and understand other people’s emotions. Humans experience affective empathy from infancy, as they physically sense their caregivers’ emotions and learn to mirror them (positively and negatively).
Cognitive empathy develops later on, at around three or four years old. To be clear: by the time we’re toddling, empathy is hard-wired into our brains. And it’s not just humans who learn empathy – numerous studies have shown that animals also feel empathy toward their peers, as primatologist Frans de Waal explains: “Our evolutionary history suggests a deep-rooted propensity for feeling the emotions of others.” If a monkey is able to actively empathise, then why do humans appear to be so bad at it?
The studies conducted by authors Jennifer Lerner and Christine Ma-Kellams showed that majority of people went for a systematic mode of thought rather than their intuition.
“Cultivating successful personal and professional relationships requires the ability to accurately infer the feelings of others – that is, to be empathically accurate.
Some are better at this than others, a difference that may be explained in part by mode of thought,” said co-author Jennifer Lerner of Harvard University. She added, “Until now, however, little was known about which mode of thought, intuitive versus systematic, offers better accuracy in perceiving another’s feelings.”
Arthur P. Ciaramicoli is a licensed clinical psychologist. He is the author of The Stress Solution: Using Empathy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Anxiety and Develop Resilience and The Power of Empathy: A Practical Guide to Creating Intimacy, Self-understanding and Lasting Love.
He has been treating clients for more than 35 years. Arthur is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Massachusetts Psychological Association. Currently in private practice, he has been on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for several years and a lecturer for the American Cancer Society.
"Empathy calms the emotional brain so that we can perceive situations and interactions accurately and thoughtfully. With empathy, we produce our own natural stress-reducing chemicals that create calm, focused energy, allowing us to do and be our best."
Cultivating successful personal and professional relationships requires the ability to accurately infer the feelings of others — i.e., to be empathically accurate. Some are better than others at this, which may be explained by mode of thought, among other factors.
Specifically, it may be that empathically-accurate people tend to rely more on intuitive rather than systematic thought when perceiving others. Alternatively, it may be the reverse — that systematic thought increases accuracy. In order to determine which view receives empirical support, we conducted four studies examining relations between mode of thought (intuitive versus systematic) and empathic accuracy.
Even though the book is set up into three parts — Developing Empathy, Practicing Empathy, and Living Empathy — the introduction explains how to use the book. “Unselfie” offers a blueprint to show how to make the crucial shift to produce happy and successful children instead of self-centered, sad and stressed children.
The following story from the introduction clinched my attention and emotions right away. It helped me to see a different perspective and learn to walk in another’s shoes. It typifies that empathy starts with human connection.
If you believe effective communication is an important leadership skill, you surely can’t ignore empathy. That’s because empathy is a precursor to being an effective communicator. How? Empathy is about understanding or being aware of other people’s feelings even when you don’t agree or relate to them. This awareness helps to understand other people’s perception. And when you are in know of other’s perception, you can choose to ‘act’ rather than ‘react’ to situations.
So when a high performing employee starts slacking off, a non-empathetic leader will probably react by doubting the employee’s ability. But an empathetic leader will give the benefit of doubt and ask, “Is everything ok? Is something bothering you?”
It’s tempting to dismiss empathy as the latest corporate buzzword…until you look at the numbers.
Last year, the top 10 companies in the Global Empathy Index—blue-chip firms like Facebook, Disney and Apple—increased in value more than twice as much as the bottom 10 and generated 50 percent more earnings. The connection seems clear: Caring in business is good for the bottom line.
But what does it really mean to be empathetic in business? And, more importantly, how do you cultivate the kind of genuine empathy that gives you a business edge. Here’s my perspective from the front lines of a growing company.
There's nothing quite like becoming immersed in a good fiction novel; for many readers, it is a way of fueling the imagination, providing a period of escape from the more laborious aspects of daily life. But in a new review, one psychologist claims fiction may be more beneficial than we realize: it has the ability to encourage empathy.
In the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Keith Oatley, of the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the University of Toronto, Canada, discusses how fiction may impact a person's social skills.
As well as reviewing findings from previous studies assessing this association, he talks about a study conducted by himself and his colleagues that investigated how literary fiction influences readers' empathetic response in the real world.
Michael Parfit is a documentary filmmaker based in Sidney, B.C., whose next project is called Search for Empathy.
In these anguished times, many people have pleaded for the emotional generosity we call empathy. But what is empathy? Can it make a real difference? Or is it false hope?
After shootings in the United States, terrorist attacks worldwide and growing xenophobia, empathy has been described as a way to fight what an international group of 1,500 parliamentarians calls a “poisonous rising tide of fear and hate.”
Barack Obama says we need more empathy. Bill and Melinda Gates promote it. Stephen Hawking says it’s the human quality he would most like to magnify. “Empathy is trending now,” said Mary Gordon, founder of Roots of Empathy in Toronto, a pioneer in the encouragement of positive empathy in children.
Millions of people want to make a big difference, but can they? Here are 6 critical traits of those who inspire others.
They have deep empathy for others
In my former work as a therapist and now as a coach, I’ve seen that millions of people around the globe have suffered at the hands of narcissists, or from mentally disordered or morally-corrupt individuals — either in their families, upbringing, or in their professional lives.
In my view, the most crushing aspect of narcissistic behavior is the total lack of empathy.
It’s very scary (and damaging) to be in relationship with someone who is totally incapable of empathy, because they’ll do anything to you and against you without remorse. They simply cannot put themselves in your shoes or understand or accept what you feel.
On the flip side, those who inspire us to be better are fully capable of experiencing empathy, and they openly express their ability to understand our personal “stories” and who we really are and what we feel, deep down.
A one-time intervention to help teachers and students empathize with each other halved the number of suspensions at five diverse California middle schools, and helped students who had previously been suspended feel more connected at school,according to Stanford University research published in April in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Building Empathy Based on the teacher study, Okonofua and his colleagues developed a professional-development workshop for teachers in five middle schools in three districts. Math teachers—chosen because math is a core subject and one associated with a high risk of stereotype threat for black and Latino students—took part in one 45-minute, in-person workshop and one 25-minute, online exercise on ways to resolve misbehavior in class.
Teachers were randomly assigned to either a control group or a training focused on how stress and insecurities that children develop during adolescence can make them detach or act out in school.
...they worked through exercises about empathetic rather than punitive ways to respond to rule breaking.
The world is changing—faster than ever before—from a society run by elites to a society in which everyone can be a changemaker. In this new world, empathy is one of the most important skills. Empathy is foundational to the ability to resolve conflict, collaborate in teams, align interests, listen effectively, and make decisions where there are no rules or precedents—to solve problems and drive change.
Ashoka's Empathy Initiative is a collaborative platform for social entrepreneurs, educators, and concerned citizens whose ideas and talents can contribute to the creation of a world where every child practices empathy. We are bringing together a global network of Ashoka Fellows and other partners to work towards a society in which learning empathy is as fundamental as reading and math; where parents insist that their children develop empathy; and where institutions cultivate empathy learning and practice.
Sonia Kruger said what she said because she’s fearful of the carnage on display in Nice and around the world, Aly contends. And he’s fearful too—of a climate in Australia that fosters calls to ban and even intern Muslims. He suggests a way to exit the Gravitron: “When we’re presented with something that we perceive to be an outrageous opinion, we can consider what motivated that person, try to understand their fear, and then empathize with how they came to their conclusion.”
Aly is right, in my view, to stress the role empathy can play in constructive debate on divisive issues, and to lament the cyclical dynamics that are currently sapping public discourse of such understanding. It’s remarkable that Aly is able to empathize with someone who says people like him should be banned from the country.
Fear is a transformative political force in many countries right now, and, like Americans, people all over the world are struggling with how to respond to it. A radical suggestion came this week from the opposite side of the globe, in Australia, in the course of a debate over a Trump-like call to ban Muslim immigrants.
In response, one Muslim called for extreme compassion. It seemed like a genuinely new proposal for breaking out of an old and agonizing cycle. But is it a real solution to fear itself?
The controversy in Australia began on Sunday when, in response to the terrorist attack in Nice, the journalist Andrew Bolt published a column with an incendiary claim: The more Muslim immigrants a country has, the more likely it is to experience terrorism.
Two researchers are calling for rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA (ecstasy) to identify exactly how the drug promotes strong feelings of empathy, according to a Commentary in the journal Cell. Such research may help researchers develop new therapeutic compounds, particularly for autism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
MDMA is described as an “empathogen,” a compound that promotes feelings of empathy and close positive social feelings in users. The drug is a strictly regulated Schedule I compound, a category reserved for substances with no accepted medical use and high abuse potential.
"Victim empathy work helps them to acknowledge that it is real people that they have harmed. Empathy engenders a sense of shared experience, and an identification with and understanding of the other person's situation, feelings and motives. Empathy has the potential to profoundly change our interactions with one another."
"Cultivating successful personal and professional relationships requires the ability to accurately infer the feelings of others - that is, to be empathically accurate. Some are better at this than others, a difference that may be explained in part by mode of thought," said Jennifer Lerner, PhD, of Harvard University, a co-author of the study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
"Until now, however, little was known about which mode of thought, intuitive versus systematic, offers better accuracy in perceiving another's feelings." Individuals process information and make decisions in different ways, according to Lerner. Some choose to follow their instincts and go with what feels right to them (i.e., intuitive) while others plan carefully and analyze the information available to them before deciding (i.e., systematic)
Christine Ma-Kellams et al. Trust Your Gut or Think Carefully? Examining Whether an Intuitive, Versus a Systematic, Mode of Thought Produces Greater Empathic Accuracy, SSRN Electronic Journal (2016). DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2782596
Oatley would know — he is a cognitive psychologist at the University of Toronto, a novelist and the author of a new review in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences looking at the psychological effects of fiction. In his review of the past decade of research on the subject, he concludes that engaging with stories about other people can improve empathy and theory of mind...
In 2006, Oatley helped conduct a study that linked reading fiction to better performance on empathy and social acumen tests. Participants were first tested on their ability to recognize author names — a decent proxy for figuring out how many books they read and what kinds.
..."People who read more fiction were better at empathy and understanding others," Oatley said.
An increase in empathy—or, at least, an increase in people wondering what 'empathy' means
Look-ups for empathy spiked sharply last night and this morning after Paul Ryan used the word in a speech on the second evening of the Republican National Convention. “Real social progress is always a widening of the circle of concern and protection,"
Ryan stated. "It's respect and empathy overtaking blindness and indifference."
The researchers found that reading narrative fiction gave rise to significantly higher empathetic responses than it did while reading non-fictional books.
According to the study published in journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, a psychologist-novelist shows that reading or watching narratives may encourage empathy.
“This intersection between literature and psychology has only taken off in the last few years. In part, because researchers are recognising that there is something important about imagination,” said Keith Oatley, Professor, the University of Toronto Department.
Reading fiction and perhaps especially literary fiction simulates a kind of social world, prompting understanding and empathy in the reader, revealed the study.
Empathy research divides the phenomenon into three empathic subtypes: emotional, cognitive, and motivational.
The idea is that when you see someone else experiencing emotion, you respond in one of three ways: You catch their emotional state yourself (emotional empathy), think about what they’re feeling and why (cognitive empathy), or feel compelled toward some action (motivational empathy, alternately known as compassion or empathic concern).
Empaths seem to experience a heightened, perhaps debilitating level of emotional empathy, taking on the pain and joy of other people to excess.
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