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Empathy and Compassion
The latest news about empathy and compassion from around the world - CultureOfEmpathy.com
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Reading fiction boosts empathy, reduces discomfort with uncertainty

Reading fiction boosts empathy, reduces discomfort with uncertainty | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

Reading literary fiction — even something as short as 10 pages — can increase empathy, improve decision-making and make people more comfortable with uncertainty, suggest two new Canadian studies. In other words, the very pursuit we use to distract us from real life might actually make us better at living it.

 

Lead author Maja Djikic said the findings have particular repercussions for our schools, where she notes a “dangerous trend” away from the arts and soft skills. This observation dovetails with a January report from Scholastic showing that reading for pleasure on a regular basis (five to seven days a week) is indeed a waning activity among youths, having fallen to 34 per cent in 2012 from 37 per cent two years earlier.


BY MISTY HARRIS, 

 

Reading Other Minds: Effects of Literature on Empathy; Djikic, M., Oatley, K., & Moldoveanu, M. C.; The Scientific Study of Literature; Issue: 3(1); 2013; Pages: 28-47

http://www-2.rotman.utoronto.ca/facbios/file/(2013b)%20Djikic,%20Oatley,%20&%20Moldoveanu.pdf

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John Scott Lucas's comment, June 20, 2013 5:29 AM
One more reason that high stakes testing is not the answer to our education dilemnas.
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Empathy Appears in Infancy but Varies by Age and Gender

Empathy Appears in Infancy but Varies by Age and Gender | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

Is empathy hardwired into our biology? Are some demographics of people statistically more empathetic than others? Can empathy be learned? The answer to all of these questions is "yes."

 

There is a wide range of research being done on the roots of compassion. Researchers in Japan have discovered that infants as young as 10-months can express sympathy for others in non-verbal ways. Another study of more than 75,000 adults found that women in their 50s are more empathic than men of the same age and than younger or older people.

 

by Christopher Bergland

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Charter for Compassion Pakistan launches Ramzan Challenge 2013

Charter for Compassion Pakistan launches Ramzan Challenge 2013 | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

The Charter for Compassion Pakistanhas launched the Ramzan Challenge 2013, the objective of which is to teach school students and university students the importance of compassion and social welfare. These students will be trained to become “Agents of Compassion” who can subsequently become the role models for others in society.

 

The Charter for Compassion Pakistan is a local initiative based upon the Charter for Compassion, a document that transcends religious, ideological, and national differences, inspiring worldwide community-based acts of compassion. The document was drafted by a multi-faith, multi-national council of thinkers and leaders. It is a cooperative effort to restore compassionate thinking and action to the centre of religious, moral and political life. The Charter for C

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Empathy Interview: Helen Weng & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy & Compassion

Empathy Interview: Helen Weng & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy & Compassion | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

Helen Weng is currently a doctoral student in clinical psychology studying the Department of Psychology, Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, and Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

 

Her long-term goals include studying how interventions that increase love and compassion impact both psychological and physical health in patients, and how training these qualities in health care providers can prevent burnout and improve patient outcomes.

 

Helen conducted a study titled,  Compassion Training Alters Altruism and Neural Responses to Suffering. "Compassion is a key motivator of altruistic behavior, but little is known about individuals’ capacity to cultivate compassion through training. We examined whether compassion may be systematically trained by testing whether (a) short-term compassion training increases altruistic behavior and (b) individual differences in altruism are associated with training-induced changes in neural responses to suffering. "

 

Culture of Empathy Builder:  Helen Y. Weng

 http://j.mp/17RkrF1

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Brain can be trained in compassion, study shows (May 22, 2013)

Brain can be trained in compassion, study shows (May 22, 2013) | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

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, recentlypublished online in the journal Psychological Science, is the first to investigate 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?'" saysHelen Weng, a graduate student in clinical psychology and lead author of the paper. "Our evidence points to yes."


Helen Weng

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Brain can be trained in compassion, study shows

Brain can be trained in compassion, study shows | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

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, recentlypublished online in the journal Psychological Science, is the first to investigate whether training adults in compassion can result in greater altruistic behavior and related changes in neural systems underlying compassion.

 

by Helen Weng

 

Culture of Empathy Builder:  Helen Y. Weng

 http://j.mp/17RkrF1

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Brain can be trained in compassion, study shows

Brain can be trained in compassion, study shows | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

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."

 

Culture of Empathy Builder:  Helen Y. Weng

 http://j.mp/17RkrF1

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Marilyne Kubath's curator insight, May 29, 2013 5:46 AM

This is excellent.

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Strengthen Your Selflessness

Strengthen Your Selflessness | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

Can you cultivate compassion? Researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison seem to think so—and with good reason.

Their study, published in Psychological Science, hypothesized that compassion can be taught and boost a person’s well-being, as well as their altruistic behavior, or selflessness.

 

To test this theory, researchers randomly assigned 41 participants to undergo one of two trainings: compassion or reappraisal. Both can promote well-being, but compassion training increases empathy and reappraisal training decreases a person’s distress level.

By Stephanie Castillo

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John Michel's curator insight, June 16, 2013 9:09 PM

Can you cultivate compassion? Researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison seem to think so—and with good reason.

Their study, published in Psychological Science, hypothesized that compassion can be taught and boost a person’s well-being, as well as their altruistic behavior, or selflessness.


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Feeling B*tchy? There's Compassion Training for That.

Feeling B*tchy? There's Compassion Training for That. | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

It's hard to admit this, but sometimes I can be kind of a B. Maybe I had a bad day, maybe I haven't eaten in the last three hours...but in any case, I've been known to snap at my man or give the side-eye to the woman taking forever in the grocery checkout line from time to time. Not. Cool.

But, apparently, harnessing one's chi to be a little bit more patient, compassionate, and more pleasant to be around in general is actually pretty easy, at least according to new research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  In the study, researchers asked participants to practice a Buddhist technique called "compassion meditation,..."

 By Natasha Burton

 

Culture of Empathy Builder:  Helen Y. Weng

 http://j.mp/17RkrF1



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Compassion training

Compassion training | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

There are all sort of things that would make the world better. Raising the minimum age for members of “Boy Bands” by about 15 years could, for instance, only elevate music and the general human experience. Changing the name and focus of the film series “Fast and Furious” to “Slow and Calm” would also be a step in the right direction. A few stern words of caution to whatever fashion troll dreamt up the “onesy” would certainly lift the level of the collective unconscious.

 

Perhaps greater than any of these much needed steps though, is the need for a rise in levels of basic human compassion. If this seems an impossibly lofty goal to you then a new study offers hope because it shows that compassion is really a matter of training your brain.

 

Culture of Empathy Builder:  Helen Y. Weng

 http://j.mp/17RkrF1

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"How would you feel if the mouse did that to you?" - New Yorker Cartoon Poster Print by William Steig at the Condé Nast Collection

"How would you feel if the mouse did that to you?" - New Yorker Cartoon Poster Print  by William Steig at the Condé Nast Collection | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
"How would you feel if the mouse did that to you?" - New Yorker Cartoon Poster Print by William Steig - at condenaststore.com.
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Empathy and Disgust Do Battle in the Brain: Scientific American

Empathy and Disgust Do Battle in the Brain: Scientific American | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

An injured rat helps us understand the struggle between empathy and disgust

 

Evolutionary theorists believe that many of our behaviors are adaptive in some way. "Empathy probably started out as a mechanism to improve maternal care," saysFrans de Waal, a primatologist at Emory University and author of The Age of Empathy. "Mammalian mothers who were attentive to their young’s needs were more likely to rear successful offspring."

 

These offspring were, in turn, more likely to reproduce, so being able to sense another’s feelings was beneficial because it helped mammals to pass on their genes—the ultimate prize in the game of life. Mammalian males also show empathy, de Waal says, because “the mechanism spread from mother-offspring to other relations, including friends."

 

By Arielle Duhaime-Ross

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Altruism and Empathy

The Helix Center for Interdisciplinary Investigation of the New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute Altruism and Empathy Saturday, June 8th, 2013 Is self...

 

Is selflessness a necessary illusion? Are we condemned to weigh the costs (whether consciously or not) of the welfare of others against the benefits to ourselves ? We develop a "theory of mind" around age three, concurrently building our capacity to recognize emotions experienced by others. In other words, we begin to develop empathy, the sine qua non of compassion, and hence, of altruism. But if altruism is evolutionarily adaptive, as many believe, can it be unadulterated by self-interest? Or might acts of altruism truly reveal "the better angels of our nature"?

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Linking Empathy to Health, Green-living, and Peace | Ashoka's Youth Venture

Linking Empathy to Health, Green-living, and Peace | Ashoka's Youth Venture | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

Lesa Walker discusses how she has implemented a unique empathy-driven project in schools across the United States and in Ghana.

 

Please describe what the Olymp-i-a Challenge is all about and how you got involved in this project.

 

As a public health physician, working for over 30 years with children with disabilities and their families, I learned the importance of empathy.  When we have empathy, we minimize our assumptions.  We look deeper than face-value.  We look for and recognize the “abilities” in people.  We respect and honor diversity.  For example, empathy is expressed in “people-first” language. A child with a disability is a child first, not a condition.  A simple action or a choice of words has dramatic impact in helping create, sustain and strengthen an environment of empathy. It also enhances positive collaboration, teamwork, and our ultimate success in working together to solve issues.

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Karen Armstrong on Compassion

Karen Armstrong talks about compassion and why we need to put the Golden Rule at the heart of our society. Filmed at an Action for Happiness event in Conway Hall on 18 April 2013

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Roots of Empathy

Niagara's youngest teachers where honoured for their contribution to teaching over the past year.

 

Culture of Empathy Builder: Mary Gordon
http://j.mp/LDeQli

 

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Study shows people can be trained to be more compassionate

Study shows people can be trained to be more compassionate | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

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, recently published online in the journal Psychological Science, is the first to investigate 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, a graduate student in clinical psychology and lead author of the paper. "Our evidence points to yes."

 

img http:/bit.ly/yYTzGr

 

Culture of Empathy Builder:  Helen Y. Weng

 http://j.mp/17RkrF1

 

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Brief Compassion Training May Lead to Greater Altruism

Brief Compassion Training May Lead to Greater Altruism | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
A new study shows that adults can be trained to be more compassionate -- and in a relatively short time. Researchers at the Center for Investigating Healthy

 

People seem to become more sensitive to other people’s suffering, but this is challenging emotionally,” Weng explained. “They learn to regulate their emotions so that they approach people’s suffering with caring and wanting to help rather than turning away.”

 

There are many possible applications of compassion training, according to Dr. Richard J. Davidson, founder and chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and senior author of the article.

 

“Compassion and kindness training in schools can help children learn to be attuned to their own emotions, as well as those of others, which may decrease bullying,” he said. “Compassion training also may benefit people who have social challenges such as social anxiety or antisocial behavior.”

 

By JANICE WOOD Associate News Editor

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Compassion Can Be Cultivated: Teaching People to Act Altruistically

Compassion Can Be Cultivated: Teaching People to Act Altruistically | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

Can people be taught to act more altruistically? Newly published research, measuring both brain activity and behavior, suggests the answer just may be yes.

 

“Our findings support the possibility that compassion and altruism can be viewed as trainable skills rather than stable traits,” a research team led by Richard J. Davidsonand Helen Weng of the University of Wisconsin-Madison writes in the journal Psychological Science.

 

Specifically, they report that taking a course in compassion leads to increased engagement of certain neural systems, which prompts higher levels of altruistic behavior.

 

By Tom Jacobs 

Culture of Empathy Builder:  Helen Y. Weng

 http://j.mp/17RkrF1

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How meditation can make the world a better place

How meditation can make the world a better place | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

Helen Weng, like thousands of other Madison residents, is reaching the end of that long crawl toward a Ph.D. Unlike many of the University of Wisconsin’s underpaid grad students, Weng already has had a taste of the limelight that is usually reserved for full-fledged professors.

 

The national journal Psychological Science recently published a study by Weng that suggests adults can learn to be more compassionate.

How so? Through a meditation CD, of course. And by repeating nice phrases like “may you have joy and happiness.”

by  JACK CRAVER


Culture of Empathy Builder:  Helen Y. Weng

 http://j.mp/17RkrF1

 

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New Study Can Help You Feel Compassion

New Study Can Help You Feel Compassion | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
New research highlights how humans can cultivate compassion.

 

Empathy and compassion, similar to physical strength and academic skills, has proven to not be something you are necessarily born with but can be enhanced through studying, training, and practice. “The fact that alterations in brain function were observed after just a total of seven hours of training is remarkable,” explained the UW-Madison psychology and psychiatry professor Richard J. Davidson, founder and chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and senior author of the article.

 

By Jessica Feigner

Culture of Empathy Builder:  Helen Y. Weng

 http://j.mp/17RkrF1

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Can compassion be trained like a muscle? Active-controlled fMRI of compassion meditation.

Can compassion be trained like a muscle? Active-controlled fMRI of compassion meditation. | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

Among the cognitive training literature, meditation interventions are particularly unique in that they often emphasize emotional or affective processing at least as much as classical ‘top-down’ attentional control. From a clinical and societal perspective, the idea that we might be able to “train” our “emotion muscle” is an attractive one. Recently much has been made of the “empathy deficit” in the US, ranging from empirical studies suggesting a relationship between quality-of-care and declining caregiver empathy, to a recent push by President Obama to emphasize the deficit in numerous speeches.

 

While much of the training literature focuses on cognitive abilities like sustained attention and working memory, many investigating meditation training have begun to study the plasticity of affective function, myself included. 

 

Micah Allen is a post-doctoral cognitive neuroscientist working in Aarhus, Denmark.

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Research Shows Why "Learning" Compassion Leads to Altruism

Research Shows Why "Learning" Compassion Leads to Altruism | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it
When people teach themselves compassion, altruistic behavior increases.

 

...For example, new research demonstrates that you can “learn” compassion through specific meditative practices fairly quickly; and, intriguingly, that teaching yourself to become more compassionate directly translates to altruistic behavior. This latest study, conducted at the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, founded by Richard Davidson, the leading researcher in this field, investigated whether you can train adults to become more compassionate; and whether that results in greater altruistic behavior and changes in related brain activity. Well, you can, and it does. 


The lead author of the study, Helen Weng, stated that “Our fundamental question was can we become more caring if we practice that mindset?  Our evidence points to yes.” 

 

by Douglas LaBier, Ph.D.

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Your Dog May Be Smarter Than You Think - CBS Miami Video

Your Dog May Be Smarter Than You Think - CBS Miami Video | Empathy and Compassion | Scoop.it

Can a dog empathize with human emotion? According to researchers, they are one of the few species that can express empathy, and thanks to Dr. Brian Hare it’s possible to discover more of what’s hiding behind your dog’s puppy eyes.

 

Dr. Brian Hare, author of The Genius of Dogsand director of the Duke University Canine Cognition Center is the brains behind “Dognition,” a website which features a series of online tests that can help you gauge your pooch’s intelligence.

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