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

5 Ways to Deepen Relationships

It's easy to go to sleep in our important relationships; it's easy lose the connection without even realizing that that is happening. Here are 5 areas to bring mindfulness to so that our relationships can thrive.

Lobotomy Cuts Both Ways (Diametrically Speaking)!

A patient cured of epilepsy by brain surgery acquired hyper-mentalistic symptoms as implied by the diametric model and predicted by the imprinted brain theory.

How Marketers Manipulate You Into Becoming Their Friend

New research reveals how shockingly easy it is to manipulate consumers to like and forgive marketers that deceive them.

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

By Karyn Hall Ph.D. on May 24, 2015 in Pieces of Mind
Listen to someone who has the borderline personality disorder talk about her experience and learn the symptoms of BPD. Much of the stigma about the disorder comes from myths.

Don’t Just Tell Me "Thank You"

By Nancy Sherman Ph.D. on May 22, 2015 in Afterwar
A young vet came forward, turned to a civilian he hadn’t met before, and said: “Don’t just tell me ‘Thank you for your service.’ First say, ‘Please.’” He didn’t explain further. But the resentment expressed was unmistakable. You couldn’t be a civilian in that room and not feel the sting.

Empathy Vs Sympathy

By Neel Burton M.D. on May 22, 2015 in Hide and Seek
Empathy is often confused with pity, sympathy, and compassion, which are each reactions to the plight of others.

Behaviours for Winners

Winning behaviours to help you get what you want and want what you get.

Finding the Truth through Forensic Media Psychology

In years ahead, law schools, schools of psychology, television, media and film, business schools and schools of public policy will offer courses, certificates and degrees in Forensic Media Psychology; a field whose time has arrived.

The Drama of the Drone Warrior

By Yosef Brody Ph.D. on May 21, 2015 in Limitless?
The new drone warfare movie starring Ethan Hawke may be fiction but ironically it gives a better sense of the workings and effects of our actual drone program than has been offered so far by government officials.

Understanding Nomophobia: Just Something Else to Worry About

My appreciation of the connection and conveniences offered by my smartphone might qualify as a pathology. That’s right folks, according to a recent study, I may have a disorder called nomophobia, which means that I get anxious, fearful and stressed out if and when I’m unable to access or use my smartphone.

Barred Art: Reflections on a Prison Art Show

Guest blogger and colleague Shannon Schmitz, an art therapist who has spent many years working as an art therapist in various prison settings, offers heartfelt musings following her recent experience of judging an art show in a makeshift prison art gallery.

Eight Tips For Curious Amateur Psychologists (Like Me)

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 20, 2015 in Ambigamy
"Don't psychologize or psychoanalyze me!" What's behind that ban and what can people interested in psychology do about it.

The Power of Awe: A Sense of Wonder Promotes Loving-Kindness

A new study led by researchers at the University of California reports that having a sense of wonder and being in awe of something greater than oneself promotes loving-kindness and prosocial behavior.

Nine Lessons from Mad Men: The Emotional Cost of Dishonesty

What emotional price do we pay for our lies? Here, I share nine lessons from Mad Men on how to stop your lies from destroying your happiness.

The Great Grief: How To Cope with Losing Our World

A “Great Grief” a feeling that rises in us as if from the Earth itself

How to Deal with Your Moody Teenager

How to Get Through to a Moody Teenager Who Doesn't Want and Resents Your Advice or Solutions

How to Be Empathetic

“All you ever wants to do is try to fix things.” “You just don't get it.” Judgments like these and countless others verbalized or thought in the context of interpersonal relationships point to one popular problem: the lack of empathy for the other. This blog provides nine guidelines for addressing this block to successful relationships.

What to Do When You Hate Your Partner’s Pet

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on May 17, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
You might love the new man or woman in your life but what do you do when you can't stand their pet?

The Case for Margins in a Student’s Life

By Tim Elmore on May 14, 2015 in Artificial Maturity
I’ve noticed a subtle pattern in college and high school students. I wonder if you’ve seen it too. Over the past year, I’ve marveled at what kids find humorous.

The Extreme Humanity Of Napalm Death’s Marc Greenway

Napalm Death’s vocalist Marc “Barney” Greenway shares his core humanitarian message and commitment to bring attention to when people are not treated with respect and dignity.

Empathic Rats Save Drowning Pals Rather than Eat Chocolate

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 13, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Research once again shows rats display empathy so why do we continue to torture them in all sorts of invasive research? In the latest study rats were found to save other rats from drowning rather than eat chocolate and were "more likely to help when they’ve had an unpleasant swimming experience of their own, adding to growing evidence that the rodents feel empathy."

The Definitive Way To Respond to Others' Mistakes

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on May 13, 2015 in Feeling It
Mistakes happen. The question is - how should we respond? Research shows that compassion will help us come out ahead.

What is Relationship Sanity?

Insanity is defined as repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. But how might we broach a definition of relational sanity? If we accept a simple and straightforward definition of sanity as "soundness of mind," could we say that experiencing ourselves as being loving and lovable is a (if not the) definition of relational/relationship sanity?

Diametric Differences in Seeing the Other’s Point of View

Both tendencies to autism and proneness to psychosis induce perspective-taking errors, but their interaction reduces these errors: a finding only explicable by the diametric model.

Multilingual Environments Enrich Our Understanding of Others

Even if you're not bilingual, exposure to multiple languages improves the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes and see the world from another perspective.

Friends or Frenemies? Understanding Bullying in Schools

When kids and parents improperly classify rudeness and mean behavior as bullying, we all run the risk of becoming so sick and tired of hearing the word that this critical safety issue among young people loses its urgency as quickly as it rose to prominence.

What Type of Apologizer Are You?

We will all need to say “I am sorry” at some point to build and maintain a healthy relationship. And we each bring our own style to our “sorry.” Awareness of your style—and your partner’s style—can help you figure out what work you might need to do to master the apology moment.

The Stories He Told Himself: Understanding Brian Williams

Our thoughts have a profound affect on us—whether they are true or false. Although we cannot know exactly why Brian Williams lied to the public about his experiences in the Iraq war, it is quite possible that he believed his lies when he told them. And when any of us lie to ourselves, we will lie to others. For we will communicate our lies as if they are fact.

How to Lose Sadness and Find Happiness

We have sad experiences happen to us and they are just too hard and we don’t want them to ever happen again. So, we put up our walls and do things that prevent us from feeling pain. What we don’t realize is that by trying to prevent pain, we also block happiness.

What is Love?

For Mother’s Day this blog will not address the pressing issues of psychiatry today. Suffice it to say that the harm done by the twin traumas of deprivation and abuse generate all the psychiatric struggles we are all subject to. This is the other side of the story - my appreciation for what I have learned from my wife.