Many business people have already discovered the power of storytelling in a practical sense – they have observed how compelling a well-constructed narrative can be. But recent scientific work is putting a much finer point on just how stories change our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
As social creatures, we depend on others for our survival and happiness. A decade ago, my lab discovered that a neurochemical called oxytocin is a key “it’s safe to approach others” signal in the brain. Oxytocin is produced when we are trusted or shown a kindness, and it motivates cooperation with others. It does this by enhancing the sense of empathy, our ability to experience others’ emotions.
Empathy is important for social creatures because it allows us to understand how others are likely to react to a situation, including those with whom we work.
A new article in the Review of General Psychology revisits Maslow's theory. According to its author, Mark Koltko-Rivera, Maslow's reasoning shifted over the course of his career. The shift occurred while he was studying peak experiences, which are "mystical experiences, aesthetic experiences, [and] emotional experiences involving nature." Maslow posited that a separate cognitive activity occurs during these experiences. Unlike the egocentrism of everyday thought patterns, the cognitive activity experienced during peak experience "[goes] beyond or above selfhood;" he called this "Being-cognition."
The practice of open-mindedness and reflection is enormously valuable particularly in our close relationships. But I won't kid you, it can be very difficult for those of us who have been attached to being right. It is freeing, but humbling....
Whether we hear the news on our way to work, read it over breakfast, or see it regurgitated and analyzed repeatedly through our online and social media channels, it seems inescapable. And like it or not, it infuses itself into our psyche, taking dire...
PRNewswire--- Is empathy a core component of "evidence-based medicine?" One prominent researcher and author in the area of empathy in patient care argues that the answer is unequivocally "yes" and says that it can and should be evaluated, taught and sustained, as studies show a high correlation between patient satisfaction and outcomes with empathy scores.
Mohammadreza Hojat, Ph.D., research professor of psychiatry and human behavior and director of the Jefferson Longitudinal Study at the Center for Research in Medical Education and Health Care, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, presented on "Empathy in the Realm of Evidence-Based Medicine," during a presentation co-hosted by the Cleveland Clinic at the American Osteopathic Association's OMED 2014, the Osteopathic Medical Conference & Exposition in Seattle.
Can empathy be taught?
Dr. Hojat says the good news is that empathy can be learned. He cited several studies where the Jefferson Scale was used, that shows enhanced empathy with a targeted education program. "Additional reinforcement could sustain or improve empathy among residents," he said.
Some examples include:
--The Rocking Chair Project: A free rocking chair was given to indigent expectant mothers by residents in family medicine; the resident had to take the chair to the mother in her home and talk about newborn care too. Going into the home, talking to the mom and assembling the chair prevented a decline of empathy by residents. For those residents who didn't participate, their empathy declined.
--Shadowing: Those residents who shadowed patients in the emergency room helped to maintain their empathy of residents vs. those whose empathy declined.
--Aging Game: Students at Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and Chicago College of Pharmacy were coached to perform the role of an elderly patient. Other medical students had to sit and watch. This increased empathy for all students by watching and/or participating in the role play for 15 minutes vs. those who didn't participate.
--Narrative Skills Training: The Cleveland Clinic did a study on narrative skills training with residents that showed that while there was no significant improvement in empathy, residents did not lose empathy vs. those who weren't exposed to training.
--Movie Clips Experiment: When residents were shown video clips of patient-physician encounters selected from three movies and analyzed positive and negative aspects of each interaction, their empathy score increased.
The caveat in empathy training: when researchers followed up with the subjects from the Aging Game and Movie Clip studies months later; most had lost what they gained, and empathy was not sustained.
"There needs to be additional reinforcement for empathy to be sustained; if no reinforcement, empathy gains will be lost," Dr. Hojat said.
The question if an individual will suffer from relapsing major depressive disorder is not determined by accident. Neuroscientists have chosen a new research approach, using computer-based models to study the disease. They show that chronic depression is triggered due to an unfortunate combination of internal and external factors.
We're bombarded on a daily basis with images of ideal beauty. These images show up so often in our daily lives that it's easy to forget how new they are; that 150 years ago most women didn't see any photographs of other women -- much less a daily ba...