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

Know Yourself

We are often told that it's important to know ourselves, but what does that mean? By observing others and noticing similarities and differences, we may gain some insight.

When Children Learn About Other's Minds, They Learn to Lie

By Art Markman Ph.D. on December 01, 2015 Ulterior Motives
Lying is a pretty sophisticated behavior. When you lie to someone else, you need to understand that when you tell them something that you know is not true, that they come to believe the false information. That means that you need to understand that their belief and your belief will differ.

Understanding Dreams About Inner and Outer Criticism

Creatures with sharp eyes and red pens watch our thoughts, feelings, and actions and invariably conclude we have erred or that we are simply unworthy. Exploring our dreams, we can study their habits and learn how to deal with them. Here are 3 dreams that illuminate the dynamics of inner and outer criticism.

Forgiveness May Harm Society

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on November 30, 2015 Am I Right?
After the shooting in Charleston and terrorist attacks elsewhere, a question arises: is there anything that cannot be forgiven?

Radicalization of Young Muslims

By Kathryn Seifert Ph.D. on November 28, 2015 Stop The Cycle
Radicalization is a growing and terriffying problem from Paris to Canada and around the world. The radicalization process has been well studied by scholars and much is known about it. Publicising what is known can help us put prevention strategies in place. Risk reduction is found in interventions in violent homes and communities, reaching out to disinfranchised youth.

Understanding OCD

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on November 27, 2015 Think Well
Here's some information that will help you to better understand the crippling anxiety disorder of OCD, how to best treat it, and why the treatment works.

How to Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on November 27, 2015 Hot Thought
You can empathize with people in three ways: recognizing their situations as analogous to your own, perceiving their pain or emotions using mirror neurons, or simulating their experiences using unconscious embodied rules.

Patients with Misophonia Require Help and Understanding

Sufferers cannot tolerate certain sounds, and avoidance leads to social isolation.

Explaining Americans' Reluctance to Accept Syrian Refugees

By Shawn M. Burn Ph.D. on November 25, 2015 Presence of Mind
The Syrian conflict has created the biggest humanitarian crisis since WWII yet over fifty percent of Americans oppose Syrian resettlement in the United States. Terror management theory, the principle of moral exclusion, and the study of prosocial behavior help explain why.

Will Virtual Reality Usher In A New Romantic Era At Work?

By Tim Leberecht on November 23, 2015 The Romance of Work
The advent of VR in the workplace will represent a new stage for the experience economy. HR departments must start hiring experience designers, writers, and storytellers; IT department must add some serious VR expertise; and team leaders and executives must become curators of experiences.

Problems Monitoring Terrorists/Muslims

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 23, 2015 Fighting Fear
Mr. Trump and Doctor Carson have suggested monitoring Muslims by staking out mosques and following anyone who wears a turban. This will not work. Muslims do not wear turbans.

Can't I Just Say "I'm Sorry" and We Can Move On?

The question is not if we will hurt others, because we all will. The question is what we should do when it happens.

Being Your Own Therapist

Being a good therapist to yourself means balancing tough love and soft love, brutal honesty with careful consideration.

The Psychology of Terrorism

By Ray Williams on November 21, 2015 Wired for Success
We need to restrain ourselves from retributive justice and focus on restorative justice, one not fueled by vengeance.

Who is "A Mensch"?

You've surely heard or read the word "Mensch," which is a Yiddish-derived term reserved for a special human being, who is recognized by others to represent decency, honest and kindness, among other admirable qualities.

Student Protests and Omnipotent Control

By Carrie Barron M.D. on November 19, 2015 The Creativity Cure
College student protests, anger, power and tearing down the holding environment.

Understanding Addiction With Electronic Registries

We want rigorous science that can guide treatment in substance abuse, but Randomized Clinical Trials (RCTs) are very expensive. Can we uber-fy clinical trials to make research, implementation and quality assessment a seamless process?

How Depression Prepared Me For A Death In The Family

By Tom Wootton on November 17, 2015 Bipolar Advantage
If I did not understand how to function during depression or, worse yet, still clung to the notion that it is not possible, I would have been a burden to my family instead of an asset. Most people fear they will break down and become a burden on those around them or that their bipolar loved ones will break down and add to the already difficult situation.

Why Social Media Matters in the Paris Terrorist Attacks

Acts of terrorism need to be public to get attention, to spread fear. Social media amplifies it all. People around the world instantaneously see the horror and feel the sense of vulnerability and chaos. Social media also shows terrorism for what it is, senseless, reprehensible violence. Because of this, it brings people together and strengthens the resolve to oppose it.

Can't We Just Talk?

Can’t we just talk? Is social media replacing our ability to connect and empathize?

Gray Must Remain Our Sacred Space

By Tim Leberecht on November 16, 2015 The Romance of Work
Gray is the stance against a bipolar world, with extreme claims and exponential implications. Living in gray means living uncomfortably in the middle, but it also means living in tolerance and peace. It means commuting between two worlds and leading a double, a poetic life. It means being able to love, to feel everything but not know anything at all.

The Assault on the American Mind

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on November 15, 2015 The Pacific Heart
A response to recent Atlantic articles about campus unrest and the supposed "coddling" of the American mind. We can't tell students they're "too sensitive" and that they should "lighten up and get over it." The moment calls for more than just free speech or intellectualizing. We need empathic inclusion.

Paris, Religion and Human Evil

What do the tragic events in Paris reveal about human nature? Is religion the cause of all evil?

7 Things Only Narcissists Do

Recognizing the signs of narcissism is the first step in effectively dealing with a narcissist.

Become a Better Conversationalist With the "Rule of Three"

By Karl Albrecht Ph.D. on November 12, 2015 BrainSnacks
How can you attract people to yourself and your ideas, instead of alienating them? Just change the proportion of three kinds of sentences you use in your conversation.

The Hundred Kinds of Silence

By Sam Osherson Ph.D. on November 11, 2015 Listen Up!
Do you wonder how to deepen your conversations? How to connect more fully with yourself? A few well-placed silences can make all the difference.

How You Open Is How You Close

By Marty Babits on November 10, 2015 The Middle Ground
Three questions and three tips to jumpstart your talks.

The Label “Narcissism” is Used Too Loosely Today

Is there someone you know who is extremely boastful, self-absorbed, and is found frequently taking selfies or engaging in self-admiration? If so, do you really care? This seems to be the common understanding of narcissism that many people discuss. But, it’s not defining the real problem with narcissism.

If You Spot It—Maybe You Got It

What we have found when working with people, couples, families, organizations and groups with the irrelationship model the real trick is to keep the focus on ourselves. We've also found that most people who have thus far been interested in the irrelationship notion are interested because it speaks to them. That is, it speaks to us.

Understanding a Mysterious Disease

In commemoration of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, 5 important things to learn about this mysterious illness...