Can empathy be taught?
A healthy body of research has proven that learning empathy can make a difference in students’ attitudes toward poverty.
In one study, researchers measured college students’ attitudes toward people in poverty before and after a poverty simulation. The study took “students who had led fairly privileged lives” and “hadn’t had much exposure to people in poverty,” says the study’s researcher, Robert Nielsen, a professor of family and consumer sciences at the University of Georgia...
Blair says empathy is vital because it
leads to action.
People like to think of themselves as good, moral people, he says. And when you see someone in need and don’t help, there must be a “cognitive distancing,” or a separation that lets you continue to be a good person in your own mind while still not being helpful.