Toddlers think they’re the center of the universe, and although we can’t blame them -- it’s totally normal and probably evolutionarily sound -- it’s still natural to want them to show a gentler, kinder version of themselves every once in a while. Even if your little ones are veritable hug machines, they probably still need some help in the empathy department now and then. But how do you get a toddler to think about someone other than himself?
This call to empathy is both common and understandable. In fact, it is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition. However, as I read article after article this summer calling the American Jewish community to show empathy for the plight of Palestinians in Gaza, I began to question the premise that a call to empathy is the correct starting place for ethical behavior.
First and foremost, I simply have doubts about the human capacity for empathy, for several reasons. First, religious and political leaders would not have to spend so much effort encouraging people to cultivate empathy if it were not on some level an unnatural, or at least difficult, accomplishment for humans. Second, there are good reasons for the human spirit to limit its capacity for empathy, especially in the modern world: true empathy, the ability to feel the feelings of others, would be utterly incapacitating in the face of the horrendous news that confronts us on a daily basis. And third, in many cases there is little incentive to cultivate empathy for others
"I contend that the cry of "black power" is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we've got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.
And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years."
How do schools get to the point where kids not only think that they can make a difference, but they actually go out and do it? What is the secret to their success? What did their teachers do right?
After interviewing numerous Changemaker Schools across the country to help share their stories, insights and inspiration I discovered that there is a very clear, basic recipe for making a difference at any age. It goes like this: first, start with empathy.
Encourage and apply it. Second, work in creative leadership opportunities. Combine them together. Then watch nascent social entrepreneurs grow.The two basic ingredients are always the same....
1. Start with empathy. Empathy doesn’t just mean treating others better; it means doing better. It is the foundational skill that lies at the core of social change because it is what motivates us toward altruism and cooperation beyond our narrow selfinterests.When people are encouraged to identify and empathize with others, and then act on that feeling, it can become a driving force for change. If it gains enough momentum to reach the tipping point, this force can literally change the course of human history. Sounds like a series of huge leaps of logic, right?
4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kind, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
Kendall L. Walton, In Other Shoes: Music, Metaphor, Empathy, Existence
In fifteen essays-one new, two newly revised and expanded, three with new postscripts-Kendall L. Walton wrestles with philosophical issues concerning music, metaphor, empathy, existence, fiction, and expressiveness in the arts.
These subjects are intertwined in striking and surprising ways. By exploring connections among them, appealing sometimes to notions of imagining oneself in shoes different from one's own, Walton creates a wide-ranging mosaic of innovative insights.
Whitman Peer Listeners is a student run organization through theWhitman College Counseling Center. Our mission is to foster emotional well-being on campus through programming and peer-to-peer interaction. As listeners we provide an alternative to the Counseling Center and a resource for students. We are available to discuss any and all issues that students may be dealing with.
Peer Listeners are trained in a variety of areas including listening skills, problem solving, and crisis management. We are available to meet by appointment as well as holding regular open office hours in Hunter Conservatory. We serve as an open network and community to all students.
In addition to our role as listeners, the Peer Listeners sponsor events and programming on campus educate, raise awareness, provide resources, promote well-being and relieve stress. Please see Programming and Events for details on past and future activities.
Empathy has become a buzzword these days. You hear it being used in classrooms, hospitals, and even corporate boardrooms. When the president talks of empathy in his address to the nation—as he has on several occasions—you know the word has reached some kind of cultural zeitgeist.
But what is empathy, really? And why should we care about it or try to enhance it?
In his new book, Empathy: Why It Matters and How to Get It, philosopher Roman Krznaric explains what empathy is and what it isn’t, and gives a powerful argument for the importance of cultivating empathy in ourselves. Though empathy may have “a reputation as a fuzzy, feel good emotion,” he writes, it “is, in fact, an ideal that has the power both to transform our lives and to bring about fundamental social change.
We create things for other people. When we feel what others are feeling, we understand them and connect much more deeply than with just market research or personas.
Empathy allows us to forge these deep connections by understanding people on a personal level. This talk discusses why empathy is important as well as how we can feel empathy ourselves, how we can help others feel it, and how we can create things that help people empathize with each other.
Abstract: The current study examines changes over time in a commonly used measure of dispositional empathy. A cross-temporal meta-analysis was conducted on 72 samples of American college students who completed at least one of the four subscales (Empathic Concern, Perspective Taking, Fantasy, and Personal Distress) of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) between 1979 and 2009 (total N = 13,737).
Overall, the authors found changes in the most prototypically empathic subscales of the IRI: Empathic Concern was most sharply dropping, followed by Perspective Taking. The IRI Fantasy and Personal Distress subscales exhibited no changes over time. Additional analyses found that the declines in Perspective Taking and Empathic Concern are relatively recent phenomena and are most pronounced in samples
The ability to read and reflect back facial emotion is the most basic skill of communicating empathy. This crucial skill allows health professionals to let patients know that we truly understand and care, and allows patients to let their caretakers know they are appreciated.
As a practicing physician for many decades and as a teacher of psychiatric interviewing for my entire professional life, I have found that physicians sometimes need to work to develop this skill. I have tested many groups of students and found that reading and reflecting facial emotion is more difficult for medical students than, for example, acting students.
The one thing I don’t understand is why, having “cornered the market” on compassion, that these empathy crusaders don’t seem at all concerned about whether the welfare machine they built, and want to keep expanding, is running well or doing the job it was intended to do.
For inflation adjusted, per capita federal welfare spending to increase by 254% from 1977 through 2013, without a corresponding reduction in poverty, and for liberals to react to this phenomenon by insisting that the only problem is lack of funding, suggests a basic problem in the theology of liberalism.....
Those of us accused of being greedy and cruel, for standing athwart the advance of liberalism and expansion of the welfare state, must then respond to the empathy crusaders.
Compassion is important but is neither all-important nor supremely important in morals and, especially, politics. It is nice, all things being equal, to have government officials who feel our pain rather than ones who, like imperious monarchs, cannot comprehend or do not deign to notice it.
But what I do know is that they all have something in common: empathy. An empathy that drives them to do something to the benefit of others. Empathy in action.
This is the kind of empathy that pushes you to take action for someone else – to set up a delivery room in Cameroon, to donate your time and effort for a common good. The kind of empathy that motivates a young boy or girl to launch a social initiative with a group of friends.
But, she’s done it all for her craft. She’s sung Abba, which -- that's something. (Laughter.) She learned violin, wore a nun’s habit, faced down a charging lion, mastered every accent under the sun. She inhabits her characters so fully and compassionately, saying, “It’s the great gift of human beings that we have this power of empathy.”
And off screen, as an advocate for women and girls, she uses that gift to help others write the life stories of their choosing, and to encourage greater empathy in the rest of us.
So Meryl is truly one of America’s leading ladies.....
Whether portraying a famous chef, a fashion editor, a Holocaust survivor, or a prime minister, she conveys her characters’ stories with empathy and dignity. Off screen, she brings that same humanity to her advocacy for women, education, and the arts. With depth, joy, and discipline, Meryl Streep invites us to explore the full range of the human experience, one story at a time.
Why Love Matters explains why loving relationships are essential to brain development in the early years, and how these early interactions can have lasting consequences for future emotional and physical health.
This second edition follows on from the success of the first, updating the scientific research, covering recent findings in genetics and the mind/body connection, and including a new chapter highlighting our growing understanding of the part also played by pregnancy in shaping a baby’s future emotional and physical well-being. Sue Gerhardt focuses in particular on the wide-ranging effects of early stress on a baby or toddler’s developing nervous system. When things go wrong with relationships in early life, the dependent child has to adapt; what we now know is that his or her brain adapts too.
The brain’s emotion and immune systems are particularly affected by early stress and can become less effective. This makes the child more vulnerable to a range of later difficulties such as depression, anti-social behaviour, addictions or anorexia, as well as physical illness.
Original sin: How babies who are treated harshly may not develop empathy for others.
People high in alexithymia tend to have serious social difficulties (Vanheule, Desmet, Meganck, & Bogaerts, 2006; Spitzer, Siebel-Jurges, Barnow, & Grabe, 2005).
These social problems seem to be directly linked to a central feature of alexithymia—what might be called a kind of empathy blindness.
Even when well-intentioned, people with alexithymia find it extraordinarily difficult to understand or take on the perspective of others, and as a result, they tend to come across as self-centered and offensive. For example, people who are high in alexithymia also score low on a measure of empathy called the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Guttman & Laporte, 2002; Grynberg, Luminet, Corneille, Grezes, & Berthoz, 2010).
Summary of "Children's perception of parental empathy as a precursor of children's empathy in middle and late childhood."
This study examined:
1) the development of empathy in middle and late childhood, according to gender;
2) children's perception of parents' empathy according to gender: and
3) the links between children's perception of parents' empathy and children's empathy.
Spanish translation of the Davis' Interpersonal Reactivity Index and a Measure of Children Perception of Parental Empathy were administered to 387 middle class children, aged 8-12 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the first place, we have found, as previous studies on the subject, significant differences between boys' and girls' empathy, girls being more empathic than boys. When comparing boys and girls in their perception of mother and father empathy, they agree in their perception of their mother's empathy, but girls perceive more empathy in their father than boys. There is clearly a connection with gender, which is probably due to cultural factors. As for the relationship between parents' and children's empathy, although previous studies showed little correlation in this regard, in the present study, when considering the perception children have of their parents' empathy, interesting meaningful connections are found.
The MSU Peer Support Line will strive to provide student support in the areas of mental health, grief and bereavement, physical, sexual health, interpersonal issues, academic issues, etc. The Peer Support Line is a confidential phone service that members of the McMaster community can call if they need support or assistance with accessing helpful resources.
Started in fall 1985, Peer Listeners is an organization run by the Counseling Center and student leaders. Its main goal is to train students in listening skills that can be used in everyday situations, professional environments and care-based positions. In addition, the organization also puts together events on campus that promote well-being and stress-relief. Students who go through the semester long training also have the opportunity to stay involved through the years, teaching future trainees and putting together campus programing.
Students take the training for different reasons; some are just interested in honing their listening skills, others are psychology majors and others join hoping to gain skills that will be useful as resident assistant or student academic advisor.
I’ve spent a lifetime exploring how empathy works, how it goes awry, and how we can create a ground for self-care and self-empathy in our everyday lives. Here’s how I define empathy:
Empathy is a social and emotional skill that helps you feel and understand the emotions, circumstances, and needs of others, such that you can offer sensitive, perceptive, and appropriate communication and support.
I’ve also been looking at an idea about empathy that goes something like this:
Empathy means that you agree with me, that you support me, that you feel my emotions alongside me, and that you meet my needs, even if I don’t express them. When you do that, we’re empathizing and you’re empathic.
Project Empathy was originally developed by All Saints Episcopal School in Ft. Worth to create awareness and an empathetic understanding of the local homeless community as well as to encourage students to serve the community in which they live. With the help of All Saints Episcopal School, Trinity is blessed to offer Project Empathy to its students.
To kick-off Project Empathy, the Reverend Jennene Laurinec, Executive Director of Newgate Mission and parent of TST alumnae, spoke to our middle and upper school students on Monday, November 17th about the homeless population in Longview. Following the kick-off, The Thanksgiving Food Drive could not come at a more opportune time to teach our students about the importance of helping feed people in need and how we can all make a difference.
During the month of January, TST will host a campus-wide Blessing Bag drive. February will offer one of the most interesting activities associated with Project Empathy and one that will have great impact, an outdoor overnight for middle school students. Middle school students will participate in an overnight on campus where they will role play, take part in poverty simulations, and sleep outdoors.
Project Empathy will conclude in the spring on Maundy Thursday with a chapel service. As we continually develop Project Empathy for our students, there may be more activities added throughout the year.
Philosopher Roman Krznaric, author of EMPATHY, presents the world's first Empathy Museum. Are you ready to talk with a stranger on the Human Library Bus, and to take your place alongside fellow workers on the Cell Phone Assembly Line? Fine out more at http://www.empathymuseum.com
Empathy is the ability to feel what other people feel – the key to forming meaningful relationships and coexisting peacefully with others. Some people are born with a natural ability to empathize, and others find it harder to relate to other people. But if you feel your ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes is lacking, there are many things you can do to deepen your sense of empathy
This article discusses the meaning of empathy and steps you can take right away to become a more empathetic person.
Now imagine you’re designing a product to try to help Mary ease her anxieties. Based on this fairly typical profile of a college student, you can start to intellectually analyze Mary and her situation. But what you really need to create a good product is empathy, and empathy isn’t about intellectually knowing – it’s about feeling. To feel what Mary feels, you need to spend time with her, learn about her specific wants, needs, and desires, and get to experience her emotions.
In the world of design-led product innovation, pursuit of empathy is the key to success.
To reap the benefits of the other ‘e’ words that we hear so much about when it comes to creating products (experience, engagement, and emotion), you need to have empathy with the people who will buy, use, and experience your products or services.