All About Empathy

Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. Empathy is known to increase prosocial (helping) behaviors. While American culture might be socializing people into becoming more individualistic rather than empathic, research has uncovered the existence of "mirror neurons," which react to emotions expressed by others and then reproduce them.

Recent Posts on Empathy

Modern Intellectual History of Cognitive Sciences

By Sean X. Luo M.D., Ph.D. on February 28, 2015 in Hooked on Patterns
Did cognitive science come out of Einstein or Darwin?

ADHD and Early Death: A False Assumption

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on February 28, 2015 in Child in Mind
Space and time to listen to the story are critical to effective treatment of problems of regulation of attention, behavior and emotion. Perhaps the risk of early death in individuals diagnosed with ADHD lies in the absence of recognition and treatment of complex underlying causes.

The Girl Who Wanted to be Spock: A Tribute to Leonard Nimoy

By Denise Cummins Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in Good Thinking
Spock was stable as a ocean-liner in stormy seas, a place of solace and practicality when crisis hit. He saw things clearly and keenly. And my fascination with him made me become a cognitive scientist.

Does Neuroimaging Provide the Ultimate Answers?

By Daniel Voyer Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in Perceptual Asymmetries
Does the state of knowledge and methodology on neuroimaging warrant the confidence we have on results obtained with these methods?

Born to Gossip

By David Ludden Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in Talking Apes
Since our brains are finely tuned for coordinating our relationships with others, it’s not surprising that language is structured to convey social information.

Should We Fan the Romantic Flame?

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in In the Name of Love
All human experiences, including romantic ones, can be boring. The remedy for boredom is often change and novelty. Should we then change our romantic partners in order to fan our romantic flames? Although change is indeed essential to emotional intensity, there are several types of changes, and emotional intensity is far from being the whole story when it comes to romance.

Does Science Really Say That Hot Guys Are Jerks?

There have been many recent media stories—with titles like "Science Says: Hot Guys Are A-Holes"—about a new study on attractiveness and behavior. I was lead author on this study, and I'll clarify here what our study really showed.

Should Health Care Providers Joke About Patients?

By Jean Kim M.D. on February 26, 2015 in Culture Shrink
Medical Gallows Humor can help providers cope, but at what cost to the care provider-patient relationship?

A Mother's Love: Myths, Misconceptions, and Truths

By Peg Streep on February 26, 2015 in Tech Support
Commonly held ideas about motherhood shape the dialogue we have culturally, get in the way of understanding parent-child conflict, and affect each of us individually by setting a high and sometimes impossible standard. Why it's time to banish some of the myths that animate the discussion and start a new conversation.

The Psychological Antidote – Part II

By Ran Zilca on February 26, 2015 in Confessions of a Techie
If today we choose to show others how similar we are to them instead of how different, we may prove their dehumazing thoughts wrong, break the vicious cycle of dehumanization, and prevent tomorrow’s violence by creating a situation that reduces the motivation for conflict.

The Psychology of Wonder

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in Statistical Life
Who we are is a consequence of our internal model, and when we change that by learning something new, we change our understanding of ourselves.

Entangled Empathy: How to Improve Human-Animal Relationships

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new book by philosopher Lori Gruen called "Entangled Empathy" sets out a new ethic for our interactions with other animals, including humans, that involves blending our feelings and our knowledge of the others with whom we are in relationship and focusing on their situations by attending to their needs, interests, desires, vulnerabilities, hopes, and sensitivities.

Coping With Traumatic Brain Injury

By Robert T Muller Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in Talking About Trauma
Tricia Williams, a clinical neuropsychologist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, explains how to improve child development and mental health for individuals coping with a TBI.

Are Kids Curious?

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in This Is America
In The Hungry Mind, Engel draws on the latest social science research to understand why curiosity is nearly universal in babies, and less evident in school. Although most children learn more when their curiosity is piqued, “schools do not always, or even often, foster curiosity.” But in an era that prizes quantifiable results, curiosity is not likely to be a priority.

How to Integrate Mindfulness Practices into the Classroom

By Azadeh Aalai Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in The First Impression
How may college students benefit if mindfulness practices are introduced into their classes?

Looking for the Right Relationship? Make a Plan!

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and you’re still alone. Or maybe you’re just wishing you were alone because clearly you’re dating a total loser. Or maybe you’ve decided to address your long-standing dating dilemma with a bold new approach. If you’ve opted for the latter, read on.

Make Social Learning Stick: How Parents Can Help Children

By Dan Peters Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in From Worrier to Warrior
For special needs children, many daily activities and experiences like getting ready for school, going to the doctor, having a play date and celebrating birthdays are very challenging. The good news: these events can become opportunities for teaching and reinforcing expected social and emotional behavior.

Online Dating: The Dark Side

By Martin Graff Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in Love, Digitally
These people use devious psychological ploys. Have you ever been suspicious about an online relationship?

What Do Scientists Know About Finding a Purpose in Life?

By Todd B Kashdan Ph.D. on February 24, 2015 in Curious?
Providing information on the science of a purpose in life. heavy, beautiful, and of paramount importance

What Makes it Easier to Be Kind to Strangers Than Loved Ones

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on February 24, 2015 in Off the Couch
Ann and Bob have been married for five years and, after trying to get pregnant for two years, have just had their first baby. Their friends and family are all thrilled for them. And while they are both excited to be parents at last, they are also exhausted, anxious and miserable.

Malignant Narcissism and the Murder of a Parent

By Carrie Barron M.D. on February 24, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
This blog explores Malignant Narcissism and the damaging impact that it can have on family members and others.

Measuring Team Performance

By Dr. Solange Charas on February 24, 2015 in The CEO Whisperer
Objectively measuring the effectiveness of the team helped the Board of Directors of this Humane Society better understand how to better select new directors and more powerfully move forward. The process explained.

First Synesthete on Mars?

By Maureen Seaberg on February 24, 2015 in Sensorium
Synesthete Andrew Tunks believes our mind's inner space is crucial to success in outer space.

Personality Disorders Explained 2: Origins

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on February 24, 2015 in Feeling Our Way
Every cognitive map of the social world also defines a role for the person to play; a personality disorder implies a limited number of acceptable roles.

Want to Damage Your Relationship? Here Are 2 Easy Ways

By Douglas LaBier Ph.D. on February 24, 2015 in The New Resilience
Troubled couples who seek therapy often show patterns of withdrawal and silent expectation when dealing with conflict; a kind of dance that deepens the damage to their relationships. New research shows how that happens.

Traveling Through Time

By Dr. Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in Trouble in Mind
Our ability to mentally travel back and forward in time gives us our sense of self and enhances our lives and coping abilities in many ways.

Why Some College Students Love Molly

It's not surprising that college students look to party drugs.

What Is the Best Diet for Mood?

By Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc on February 23, 2015 in Inner Source
Which diet is the healthiest for your brain and mood?

The Angry Asian Showdown at the Social Media Corral

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on February 23, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
The "Angry Asian Man" (Phil Yu) and "Angry Asian Girl" (Lela Lee) are involved in a dustup that some say has "damaged the Asian-American community." Here's my take on the social media firestorm. My takeaway: depending on social media to connect us is a really, really big mistake. The medium itself is inherently flawed and beyond repair.

Your Inner Monkey: Learning From Your Way-Way-Back Past

How far back do you look when you want to learn from the past? Your monkey ancestors actually can teach you much about why you do what you do now.