The powerful don’t empathize with those less powerful, according to new research reported in The New York Times. The reason offered is that, “when people experience power, their brains fundamentally change how sensitive they are to the actions of others.”
This is a nice example of how cognitive neuro-scientists, focusing entirely on “objective” evidence, in this case the activity of “mirror neurons,” miss out on the common sense meaning of human behavior. An earlier explanation of this well-known effect, offered by Susan Fiske, a psychologist at Princeton, is
that “powerful people don’t attend well to others around them because they don’t need them in order to access important resources.” They “already have plentiful access to those.”
Are new Republican policies really a return to "compassionate conservatism"? No -- and that's a good thing.
Compassionate conservatism is back. That's how Peter Beinart, a contributing editor at the Atlantic, reads a number of recent developments in Republican politics, the most recent being Representative Paul Ryan's announcement of new anti-poverty proposals.
Beinart is skeptical that this revival of an old campaign theme will work. I'm skeptical that the revival is even taking place.
Beinart argues that compassionate conservatism -- the idea that conservative principles can be applied to alleviate persistent social problems such as poverty -- never did much to win elections for Republicans.
Only a third of successful performance at work is due to technical skill, while two thirds is due to emotional competence and empathy skills.
Empathy is a natural social resource that has been left untapped by an outdated corporate model of stats and number-crunching forecasts. The corporate world is an ‘empathic wasteland’ in need of rehabilitation. Women’s skills and intuition are key to unleashing empathy’s potential to transform corporate culture.
Over the last six months, Lady Geek has been speaking to a range of the most empathic people in the world – from buddhist monks to hostage negociators and FTSE 100 CEOs. Operating profit is 56 percent higher in companies with women on corporate boards according to McKinsey. Society, is urging its favourite brands and companies to enter into an emotional relationship with both their customers and the world at large.
This campaign aims to provide the tools and insight to guide companies through the empathy revolution.
Edward Samuel "Ed" Miliband (born 24 December 1969) is a British Labour Party politician, currently the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Doncaster North since 2005 and served in the Cabinet from 2007 to 2010 under Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
And with the decency and empathy to reach out to people from all backgrounds, all walks of life...
If ideas are the most underrated commodity in politics, decency and empathy are the most underrated virtues. My true test of leadership is not just whether you look the part but whether you can retain your soul...
Lack of empathy, understanding of what people were facing and feeling, was part of the problem.
Of course, people want leaders who can make tough decisions. But I believe tough decisions don't mean we have to leave our empathy and decency at the door...
Big ideas, principles, decency and empathy - that's how I judge leadership, that's the leadership I aspire to. More and more people are turning away from politics. And I can understand why...
And let's show that we believe decency and empathy are crucial values not just for our communities but for our country. And let's do so knowing something else:...
Learning sociology helps us to further develop our ability to empathize. In this post, Stephanie Medley-Rath explains how learning about gangs beyond statistics can help us to develop our own sense of empathy.
One skill that students of sociology should develop and refine through their training is the ability to empathize.
What is empathy? There are two types of empathy: affective empathy and cognitive empathy. Cognitive empathy most closely aligns with the sociological imagination. Cognitive empathy
The basic requirement for Empathy is to identify the Common Ground. Once the common ground is established, it gives the person an opportunity to walk in the other person’s shoes.
Stephen R. Covey states “Nothing is more validating and affirming than feeling understood. And the moment a person begins feeling understood, that person becomes far more open to influence and change. Empathy is to the heart what air is to the body.”
We should never make assumptions and must have the courage to ask questions to understand from the other person’s perspective.
Here are some powerful quotes from various people that emphasize the Importance and the Power of Empathy.
A prerequisite to empathy is simply paying attention to the person in pain. – Daniel Goleman
Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place. – Daniel H. Pink
When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems. – Stephen Covey
The human brain can be exquisitely attuned to other people, thanks in part to its so-called mirror system. The mirror system is composed of a network of brain regions that become active both when you perform an action (say, squeezing a rubber ball in your hand) and when you observe someone elsewho performs the same action (squeezing a rubber ball in his hand).
Our brains appear to be able to intimately resonate with others’ actions, and this process may allow us not only to understand what they are doing, but also, in some sense, to experience it ourselves — i.e., to empathize.
In our study, we induced a set of participants to temporarily feel varying levels of power by asking them to write a brief essay about a moment in their lives.
============================ Does this mean that the powerful are heartless beings incapable of empathy? ===================
by Michael Inzlicht is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.
The Learning Foundations Guide is an instruction book for educator and outlines how to use the Empathy Toy™ to improve universal learning skills. I was assigned to redesign the table of contents and title pages of each section in a simple and attractive w…
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
As one of this world's greatest architects of reconciliation and positive social change, surely Mandela — whose birthday was celebrated recently — is an authority on what it takes to overcome the reduction that reduces another person's humanity, that makes that person as foreign as a virus, a target to be wiped out by any means necessary.
So how do we counteract the poisonous thinking of my tribe versus yours? Compassion. Empathy.
How much more persuasive would the July 18 demonstration in Calgary that led to violence have been had the Palestinian supporters and the Israeli supporters sat down and mourned together for a land that is choking to death on its hatred?
Politicians in Washington, DC, seem to have stopped talking — and listening — to their colleagues across the aisle, contributing to our virtually deadlocked Congress. While Washington appears to have stopped their conversations, Bill decided to start a new one.
This week he speaks with the American Enterprise Institute’s president Arthur C. Brooks, whose political views in large measure differ from his own, on how to fight America’s widening inequality.
Brooks says that despite the heated rhetoric of the far right, the compassionate conservatism once touted by George W. Bush isn’t dead. It’s alive and well at the conservative AEI, where Brooks became president in 2009.
by Bill Cloke So how do we know when we are being empathic? One way is to check it out. Asking for acknowledgement is one way to know what someone is feeling...
How can we define empathy? Heinz Kohut, one of the fathers of modern psychology describes it best when he defines empathy as "vicarious introspection." Kohut describes empathy as an intellectual process and is distinguished from compassion and sympathy by our ability to determine what the other is about without the aid of emotion. He uses the example of how Hitler understood empathy when he placed sirens on his dive bombers because he knew what it would do to the people on the ground. As his troops came into town the people were so scared they immediately surrendered because he had already won the psychological battle.
It was Kohut who postulated that all psychological difficulties begin with empathic failures.
A seven-part framework for increasing empathy between foundations and grantees.
Through our partnership over the last three years, we’ve learned as much about how to work together as we have about tackling development challenges. Donor-grantee relationships are sometimes fraught with power imbalances and mutual mistrust—a dynamic that creates process stalemate.
We are convinced that the best way to navigate these partnerships and deliver maximum impact is to anchor the relationship in empathy.
After getting through security and catching up on our most recent collaboration event, I promised her that report, and we boarded separate flights.
At a local primary school I was visiting later that day, I came across a definition of empathy handwritten on a dimly lit blackboard. Around these powerful words, the two of us came up with the following seven tips for building more empathetic donor-doer engagement.
Raising compassionate children is no small feat these days. Because of the egocentrism of children's early years combined with the increasingly prevalent messages of selfishness, narcissism and indifference that popular culture communicates to them, children are not likely to readily learn compassion on their own.
This means that you have to make an extra effort to instill this essential value in your children's lives.
Your children's ability to care about others must be nurtured by you in their early years and woven into the very fabric of your family's life. The wonderful thing about compassion is that there are so many conduits through which you can communicate its messages that can impact your children. When you immerse your children in a sea of messages of compassion, they are all but assured of getting the messages loud and clear.
Live a Compassionate Life...
Surround Yourself With Compassionate People...
Talk to Your Children About Compassion...
Engage Your Children in Compassionate Activities...
Our understanding of empathy is pretty limited, but many figures are calling for change. Corporate culture is beginning to recognise the need to put yourself in someone else's shoes.
Business buzzwords are changing. Pervasive gibberish like “mission-critical optimisation” and “blue-skies thinking” is in decline; instead we’re witnessing the rise – sorry, “phase-in” – of terms like social innovation and sustainability. Corporations now want to show you not just that they care, but that they really care.
Empathy is the latest addition to the management dictionary.
There’s a huge profit motive galvanising this change. Belinda Parmar, author of The Empathy Era, thinks we’re on the cusp of a corporate revolution. “Empathy is the key to profit,” she says. “It is a natural social resource that has, for years, been left untapped by an outdated corporate model, hampered and trussed up by its systemising protocol. The corporate world is in need of rehabilitation. It needs to redress its empathy deficit.
Laudable as it may seem that Ed Miliband is taking empathy lessons from some very learned academics, it’s not guaranteed to make him a better politician – or win him any votes, writes Julian Baggini
Spin doctors are out; bona fide professors are in. Or at least that’s how Ed Miliband’s office has spun his interest in the “politics of empathy”, which has led him to call on the services of one of the world’s leading researchers on autism, Simon Baron-Cohen.
In his book Zero Degrees of Empathy, Baron-Cohen describes empathy as a “universal solvent”, claiming that “any problem immersed in it becomes soluble”, including “political deadlocks”. He is not the only one to advocate the political importance of empathy. The American philosopher Martha C Nussbaum included it in her book Political Emotions, arguing that “the ability to imagine the situation of others, taking the other’s perspective” was required in politics to create “stable structures of concern”
========================= Miliband appears to be less concerned with promoting empathy as showing his own. ==========
It’s reported that Ed Miliband is consulting a leading expert on autism to help him further understand the politics of empathy.
The expert in question is Simon Baron-Cohen who is a Professor ofPsychopathology at the University of Cambridge and is also the cousin of Sacha Baron Cohen (the creator of Ali G). Alongside his extensive research, one of the books that Baron-Cohen has written examines how concern for others manifests itself in the brain, and argues that the ability to empathise is a fundamental requirement to be a successful political leader.
“His office contacted me this time last summer. They asked me if I’d meet him because Ed had read my book. He invited me to talk to him about the politics of empathy.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially after Miliband’s speech on Friday where he used the word empathy six times and explained that he thought “decency and empathy are the most underrated virtues” in politics.
Until now, little was scientifically known about the human potential to cultivate compassion — the emotional state of caring for people who are suffering in a way that motivates altruistic behavior.
A new study by researchers at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that adults can be trained to be more compassionate. The report, published Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, investigates whether training adults in compassion can result in greater altruistic behavior and related changes in neural systems underlying compassion.
“Our fundamental question was, ‘Can compassion be trained and learned in adults? Can we become more caring if we practice that mindset?’”
says Helen Weng, lead author of the study and a graduate student in clinical psychology. “Our evidence points to yes.”
“Our research examines how moral values of empathy and justice have distinct influences on people when they are asked to make donations benefiting others whose choices have led them to an unfortunate place in life,”
write authors Saerom Lee (University of Texas at San Antonio), Karen Page Winterich (Pennsylvania State University), and William T. Ross Jr. (University of Connecticut).
“Our results can help non-profits be more cautious when describing the causes and beneficiaries they are supporting. Donation appeals should specify or imply low responsibility of the charity recipients or, alternatively, seek to elicit empathy to increase donations,” the authors conclude.
“Rather than appealing to a broader spectrum of moral values, messages should focus on the moral values of empathy and benevolence.”
Empathy is a good thing, without a doubt. But why is empathy so good? We now have a whole slew of studies to aid our understanding of how empathy helps, well, just about everything.
Here are three examples.
1. It’s good for the environment...
After surveying roughly 3,500 people about what factors would lead them to reduce their carbon footprint to help slow global warming, the scientists found that tapping into our tendency toward compassion for others was a more effective motivator than appealing to self-interest...
2. It’s good for business....
Managers with more empathy may translate to healthier employees, research published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes shows. ..
Empathy may not be an intuitive aspect of a Culture of Health but, in fact, it is integral. We must all believe we have a shared stake in being healthy and in meeting people where they are with the help that they need to thrive. People who lack empathy make decisions that not only hurt themselves, but also can hurt others around them.
At the Foundation, we believe we will not be able to achieve our vision of a Culture of Health if we don't simultaneously work toward eliminating the culture of violence and trauma that defines the lives of too many Americans, including too many of our children.
Once again, empathy is imperative
to achieving this goal.
For some people who are exposed to violence or experience other forms of trauma early in their lives, it can have a lasting impact on their ability to empathize with others.
This seeming "lack of empathy" can be a survival strategy.
For example, Senghur speaks about the abuse and neglect he experienced as a child and about his own experience as a shooting victim, which left him paranoid and willing to adopt the credo that "it's better to be the shooter than the person getting shot."
This week I’ll be reviewing a collection of nonfiction essays called The Empathy Exams by New York author Leslie Jamison. The book was published this year and won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. Jamison has also written a novel, The Gin Closet, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Prize.
Jamison derives the book’s title from her time as a medical actor, when she was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose.
In her subsequent assessment of how the medical students did, there is a section that asks if he or she ‘Voiced empathy for my situation/problem.’
This is a springboard for and perfect introduction to the book. It begs the question of how we feel and respond to other people’s pain.