Teaching an empathetic essay

It could lead one to increase the welfare of those for whom empathy is felt at the expense of other potential pro-social goals, thus inducing a type of bias. Researchers suggest that individuals are willing to act against the greater collective good or to violate their own moral principles of fairness and justice if doing so will benefit a person for whom empathy is felt. On a more positive note, aroused individuals in an empathetic manner may focus on the long-term welfare rather than just the short-term of those in need.

Empathy-based socialization is very different from current practices directed toward inhibition of egoistic impulses through shaping, modeling and internalized guilt. Therapeutic programs built around facilitating altruistic impulses by encouraging perspective taking and empathetic feelings might enable individuals to develop more satisfactory interpersonal relations, especially in the long-term. At a societal level, experiments have indicated that empathy-induced altruism can be used to improve attitudes toward stigmatized groups, even used to improve racial attitudes, actions toward people with AIDS, the homeless and even convicts.

Empathy vs. Sympathy | Grammar | Empathetic person, Esl learning, Writing words

Such resulting altruism has also been found to increase cooperation in competitive situations. The capacity to empathize is a revered trait in society. Proper empathic engagement helps an individual understand and anticipate the behavior of another. Apart from the automatic tendency to recognize the emotions of others, one may also deliberately engage in empathic reasoning.

Two general methods have been identified here. An individual may simulate fictitious versions of the beliefs, desires, character traits and context of another individual to see what emotional feelings it provokes.

Or, an individual may simulate an emotional feeling and then access the environment for a suitable reason for the emotional feeling to be appropriate for that specific environment. Some research suggests that people are more able and willing to empathize with those most similar to themselves. In particular, empathy increases with similarities in culture and living conditions.


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Empathy is more likely to occur between individuals whose interaction is more frequent. Each participant received a mild electric shock, then watched another go through the same pain. When the wristbands matched, both brains flared: with pain, and empathic pain. If they supported opposing teams, the observer was found to have little empathy. He ascertains empathy as an exhaustive process that limits us in morality and if low empathy makes for bad people, bundled up in that unsavoury group would be many who have Asperger's or autism and reveals his own brother is severely autistic.

There are concerns that the empathizer's own emotional background may affect or distort what emotions they perceive in others. It is a skill that is gradually developed throughout life, and which improves the more contact we have with the person with whom one empathizes. Empathizers report finding it easier to take the perspective of another person when they have experienced a similar situation, [] as well as experience greater empathic understanding. The extent to which a person's emotions are publicly observable, or mutually recognized as such has significant social consequences.

Empathic recognition may or may not be welcomed or socially desirable. This is particularly the case where we recognize the emotions that someone has towards us during real time interactions.


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  • Based on a metaphorical affinity with touch, philosopher Edith Wyschogrod claims that the proximity entailed by empathy increases the potential vulnerability of either party. For instance, Tania Singer says that clinicians or caregivers must be objective to the emotions of others, to not over-invest their own emotions for the other, at the risk of draining away their own resourcefulness. Excessive empathy can lead to empathic distress fatigue , especially if it is associated with pathological altruism.

    The medical risks are fatigue , occupational burnout , guilt , shame , anxiety , and depression. First, he argues that empathy uniquely has all the characteristics we can know about an ethical viewpoint [] — including that it is "partly self-standing", and so provides a source of motivation that is partly within us and partly outside, as moral motivations seem to be.

    His second argument is more practical: he argues, "Empathy for others really is the route to value in life", and so the means by which a selfish attitude can become a moral one. By using empathy as the basis for a system of ethics, King is able to reconcile ethics based on consequences with virtue-ethics and act-based accounts of right and wrong.

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    In the book The Ethics of Care and Empathy , philosopher Michael Slote introduces a theory of care-based ethics that is grounded in empathy. His claim is that moral motivation does, and should, stem from a basis of empathic response. He claims that our natural reaction to situations of moral significance are explained by empathy.

    He explains that the limits and obligations of empathy and in turn morality are natural. These natural obligations include a greater empathic, and moral obligation to family and friends, along with an account of temporal and physical distance. In situations of close temporal and physical distance, and with family or friends, our moral obligation seems stronger to us than with strangers at a distance naturally.

    Slote explains that this is due to empathy and our natural empathic ties. He further adds that actions are wrong if and only if they reflect or exhibit a deficiency of fully developed empathic concern for others on the part of the agent. In phenomenology , empathy describes the experience of something from the other's viewpoint, without confusion between self and other. This draws on the sense of agency. In the most basic sense, this is the experience of the other's body and, in this sense, it is an experience of "my body over there".

    In most other respects, however, the experience is modified so that what is experienced is experienced as being the other's experience; in experiencing empathy, what is experienced is not "my" experience, even though I experience it. Empathy is also considered to be the condition of intersubjectivity and, as such, the source of the constitution of objectivity.

    Some postmodern historians such as Keith Jenkins in recent years have debated whether or not it is possible to empathize with people from the past. Jenkins argues that empathy only enjoys such a privileged position in the present because it corresponds harmoniously with the dominant liberal discourse of modern society and can be connected to John Stuart Mill 's concept of reciprocal freedom. Jenkins argues the past is a foreign country and as we do not have access to the epistemological conditions of by gone ages we are unable to empathize.

    It is impossible to forecast the effect of empathy on the future. If we watch from a fictitious past, can tell the present with the future tense, as it happens with the trick of the false prophecy.

    The Importance of Empathy

    There is no way of telling the present with the means of the past. Heinz Kohut is the main introducer of the principle of empathy in psychoanalysis. His principle applies to the method of gathering unconscious material. The possibility of not applying the principle is granted in the cure, for instance when you must reckon with another principle, that of reality.

    In evolutionary psychology, attempts at explaining pro-social behavior often mention the presence of empathy in the individual as a possible variable. While exact motives behind complex social behaviors are difficult to distinguish, the "ability to put oneself in the shoes of another person and experience events and emotions the way that person experienced them" is the definitive factor for truly altruistic behavior according to Batson's empathy-altruism hypothesis.

    If empathy is not felt, social exchange what's in it for me? In the book Wired to Care , strategy consultant Dev Patnaik argues that a major flaw in contemporary business practice is a lack of empathy inside large corporations. He states that lacking any sense of empathy, people inside companies struggle to make intuitive decisions and often get fooled into believing they understand their business if they have quantitative research to rely upon.

    Patnaik claims that the real opportunity for companies doing business in the 21st century is to create a widely held sense of empathy for customers, pointing to Nike , Harley-Davidson , and IBM as examples of "Open Empathy Organizations". Such institutions, he claims, see new opportunities more quickly than competitors, adapt to change more easily, and create workplaces that offer employees a greater sense of mission in their jobs.

    Research into the measurement of empathy has sought to answer a number of questions: who should be carrying out the measurement? What should pass for empathy and what should be discounted? What unit of measure UOM should be adopted and to what degree should each occurrence precisely match that UOM are also key questions that researchers have sought to investigate.

    Behavioral measures normally involve raters assessing the presence or absence of certain either predetermined or ad-hoc behaviors in the subjects they are monitoring.

    What is Empathy?

    Both verbal and non-verbal behaviors have been captured on video by experimenters such as Truax. Physiological responses tend to be captured by elaborate electronic equipment that has been physically connected to the subject's body. Researchers then draw inferences about that person's empathic reactions from the electronic readings produced. Bodily or "somatic" measures can be looked upon as behavioral measures at a micro level.

    Definition of empathy

    Their focus is upon measuring empathy through facial and other non-verbally expressed reactions in the empathizer. These changes are presumably underpinned by physiological changes brought about by some form of "emotional contagion" or mirroring. Paper-based indices involve one or more of a variety of methods of responding. In some experiments, subjects are required to watch video scenarios either staged or authentic and to make written responses which are then assessed for their levels of empathy; [] scenarios are sometimes also depicted in printed form.