In his book, "Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis," Jeremy Rifkin argues that "...what is needed is a more transparent public debate around views of freedom, equality and democracy…a moratorium on the hyperbolic political rhetoric and incivility...and begin a civil conversation around our differing views on human nature. This would offer us a moment in time to listen to each other, share our feelings, thoughts, concerns and aspirations, with the goal of trying to better understand each others' perspectives, and hopefully find some emotional and cognitive common ground."
A "moral molecule" can influence how generous or selfish you are.
Chemicals in your body can influence how generous or selfish you are, and, in recent years, experiments have explored the role of one called oxytocin — which one researcher calls the "moral molecule."
In an experiment known as the ultimatum game, one of two people is given a sum of money, say $100, and told he must decide how to split it with person No. 2. If person No. 2 is dissatisfied with the split, then she can reject it, but then the money vanishes, and neither person gets any.
One parent reflects on the painful side of empathy when tragedy strikes
I needed a minute. With tears streaming down my face, all I could think of was that empathy really sucks. I really truly did not want to feel what those other mothers must be feeling. I didn’t want the fear, the anguish, the shock, the disbelief. I can’t believe Ashoka wants us all to master this.
During past random shootings in the US (the batman screening or even Columbine), I felt the way I feel when I hear about famine in Africa. Deeply concerned at an intellectual level but no tears streaming down my face.
The psychiatric diagnoses that can be connected to a lack of empathy are numerous. Someone can have fallen victim to schizophrenia and be suffering the delusion that others must die to save the earth. Hence, there is no grief for the people who must die. Someone can be drug dependent and inebriated to the point that his core empathy is suppressed, due to intoxication. Someone can be personality disordered--a "sociopath" who steals, cheats and commits violent acts without guilt.
Yet, these diagnoses still don't speak to the underlying cause of someone losing empathy. What about that? Regardless of what diagnosis we speak of, we still need to think about what causes those conditions marked by having little or no feeling for others.
Is empathy inherited? Is it taught? Dr. Perri Klass shared her thoughts and recent findings with the Takeaway and listeners are sharing their opinions.
"Empathy like sociopathy is innate. you can't teach a sociopath to feel love. empathy is something, a love for some sort of human condition and sociopaths can't feel love. so if it isn't there to have the ability to feel than i don't believe you can teach it.”
Following a sketchy report that Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza may have had autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight booked a so-called expert named Dr. Xavier Amador to come on the air and slur people with autism.
Dr. Amador, a media-friendly psychologist (a specialty that does not deal with autism) told Piers Morgan that “a symptom of autism” is that “something’s missing in the brain, a capacity for empathy, for social connection, which leaves the person suffering from this condition prone to serious depression and anxiety.”
Empathy is at the root of all prosocial behaviour, Gordon says. “It’s the secret sauce that’s been ignored for so long.”
People are not monsters, Gordon says, but without empathy they can’t really understand how their victims feel. Roots graduates are more likely to feel for kids being bullied — and to step in.
Imagine if every child starting school in BC this year could participate in the Roots program. Imagine if every child in the world were routinely encouraged to care about others. It would change the world.
Empathy, or the ability to understand and share the feelings or another individual, may improve pain management in patients, changing the brain’s response to stress. According to a new study from Michigan State University, doctor’s empathy tend to lead to better patient outcomes, though the exact mechanism for the altered patient brain response is still unknown.
Previous research has shown that doctors who listen carefully have happier patients with better health outcomes, but the underlying mechanism was unknown. A release from the university quotes investigator Issidoros Sarinopoulos as saying, “This is the first study that has looked at the patient-centered relationship from a neurobiological point of view. It’s important for doctors and others who advocate this type of relationship with the patient to show that there is a biological basis.”
Just before the election, the Washington Post fluttered about what it described as “Barack Obama’s empathy edge.” The equally hardboiled reporters at Psychology Today pondered: “Is Obama empathetic to a fault?”
The Empath-in-Chief himself has said that empathy rather than such bewhiskered qualities as constitutional scrupulousness is his main concern when choosing Supreme Court justices, of whom he demanded that they have “the empathy to recognize what it’s like to be a young, teenaged mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”
Do Animals feel Empathy? This simple empathy experiment shows Bonobos freeing each other from captivity to share food with each other. This great Nova video shows rats and humans doing it to! Share this link widely!
How do children develop prosocial behavior - "voluntary behavior intended to benefit another" - and is there a way to encourage it?
Working with a child’s temperament, taking advantage of an emerging sense of self and increasing cognitive understanding of the world and helped by the reward centers of the brain, parents can try to foster that warm glow and the worldview that goes with it. Empathy, sympathy, compassion, kindness and charity begin at home, and very early.
Whenever I hear people talk about “ a difficult child,” I immediately wonder what is going on in that family. Kids react to their world and feelings with behavior without understanding the big picture. This is why we need parents to explain, teach, guide and help them understand. Well, of course, you say. Everyone knows that. But, I believe there is a piece of parenting that some don’t understand and that is the power of empathy.
The cornerstone of narcissistic parenting is lack of empathy and the inability to give unconditional love. Narcissists do not tune into the emotional world of their child and therefore are not in touch with the day-to-day feelings of their kids. Narcissists worry more about what the child does rather than who the child is. They see their kid’s behavior as a reflection of them.
Some news coverage in the last 48 hours has mentioned autism in the context of the tragedy in Connecticut, particularly referencing shooter Adam Lanza's possible Asperger’s or "high-functioning" autism. Talking heads have brought up the "empathy" factor when discussing autism, and I'd like to set some of the record on that straight.
Empathic ability comes in two forms. One is the social ability to recognize the emotion someone is feeling by following social cues, subtle vocal fluctuations, and other nonverbal communications.
"Almost 600 professionals and 300 young people gathered over three days at the first Empathy and Compassion in Society conference in London in November 2012. The conference asks what happens when we choose to put compassion at the very centre of our professional lives, and whether it is possible to cultivate compassion."
One of the most telling moments was when a young man named Sam announced that school life was not set up to help him and his fellow teenagers to be kind and compassionate. The name of the game, he said, is to get good exam results - end of story..
Following the recent news that the UK has the world's sixth best education system, I thought now would be a good time to share some of my own research.
This research involved zero analysis of exam results, no evaluation of teacher performance, and has yielded not a single league table. My findings are based entirely on the three days that I spent at a conference in London called Empathy and Compassion in Society.
Andy FraserJournalist focusing on sport, meditation, well-being and compassion
Study examines the relationship between physicians' empathy and reducing complications from diabetes
Physician empathy in this study was shown to help in reducing serious metabolic complications from diabetes. In an earlier study published in 2011, Hojat et al reported that “patients of physicians with high empathy scores were significantly more likely to have good control of hemoglobin A1c (56%) than were patients of physicians with low empathy scores
Pain empathy involves conscious and unconscious processing of another person's pain. It causes the activation of pain neural pathways and allows for recognition and understanding of an injury. It is also thought to provide motivation to ease suffering in others.
Do we become empathetic human beings by nature or nurture? Dr. Perri Klass, a primary care pediatrician, explored the topic in "Understanding How Children Develop Empathy," a recent article in The New York Times.
Decisions to act out of kindness, compassion, and concern confront us regularly in our lives. They vary in scale and impact, from the choice to hold the door to choosing to help someone in grave danger.
In moments of empathy, our emotions go a step further. Beyond sympathy, empathy allows us to share and experience the emotions of another.
Dr. Perri Klass is a primary care pediatrician and the author of a recent article in The New York Times, “Understanding How Children Develop Empathy.”
A recent study that examined the empathy levels of almost 14,000 university students between 1979 and 2009 found that students have become dramatically less empathic over the years, particularly since 2000.
In addition, narcissism, which correlates negatively with empathy, is on the rise amongst university-aged students. Narcissists, by definition, are extremely self-focused and tend to see other people in terms of their usefulness rather than true friendship—not exactly a recipe for empathy.
In a Word: Empathy "If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own." Henry Ford
As UX professionals, it is our imperative to create valuable and engaging experiences for our users. We often have to play the role of “user advocate” on project teams where other requirements and constraints can push our recommendations for more user-centric designs to the bottom of the list of priorities. In this article, I will discuss not only why empathy is critical—offering a truly competitive advantage when designing experiences for users—but also why this same ability is key to managing your project teams, your department, and your entire organization.
In the past, being empathetic in the professional world has been marginalized as being "too soft” or “too touchy-feely.” However, empathetic approaches should be implemented both internally and externally and do not fit into any pre-defined box.
In recent blogs, conferences and unconferences, there has been a good deal of emphasis on the importance of empathy in a business environment. And although empathy is definitely important, I just refused to believe that it is the holy grail that will automatically lead to success....
However, a business is not the same as a society, and I wondered if empathy would also make a business run better. After giving it thought, I'm afraid that beg to differ in that area. As a matter of fact, I have the feeling that both the corporate as well as the political world are perhaps dragged too much into "empathy thinking", with too much talk and too little vigor and progression.
Remember the oxygen mask and get your needs taken care of first. Take exquisite care of yourself as the foundation for taking care of others...
For anyone in the helping professions, compassion fatigue is a common occurrence and a clear signal to take better care of your own needs. Compassion fatigue is when you find yourself challenged to care about your patients in the way you know is proper and expected in your position. One of the key components of quality health care is the ability for you to connect with your patients and for them to sense that connection. Compassion fatigue cuts you off from the people who need you the most, and it extends well beyond just your patients.
Cynicism, sarcasm and feeling put upon are the first signs.
Are we more excited by people who seem to care about us? Can being a good, caring listener feed the flames of desire? Research offers some clues to the answer...
Fascinatingly, only the secure and anxious listeners were excited by the empathy of their partners. The more caring their partners seemed, the less interested avoidants were in having sex with them. In other words, people who avoid intimacy are less attracted to a caring partner!
Which seems like a great thing, right? Wouldn't those of us who enjoy intimacy prefer that our empathy-phobic dates take a hike?..
In the meantime, the clearest take home lesson seems to be this: If you want a caring partner, your best bet is to be caring, and see who sticks around for more.
Dr. Craig Malkin
Author, Clinical Psychologist, Instructor Of Psychology for HMS