Mirror neurons “mirror” the behavior and emotions
people surrounding us in such a way
that the others become part of us.
He is one of the
few scientists that have directly studied mirror neurons. His work
on the neural basis of empathy has led to publications in the most
prominent scientific journals. Sub
Empathy is like a universal solvent. Any problem immersed in empathy becomes soluble.
Empathy cannot by definition oppress anyone.
We talk with
Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology
and Director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge
University. In his new book;
Zero Degrees of Empathy: a New Theory of Human Cruelty (UK),
The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty (US)
he calls for a redefinition of Evil as a lack of empathy. Sub
Kristin Neff, author of
Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity
Behind, talks with Edwin about the nature of empathy,
self-empathy self-compassion and compassion.
Compassion is a huge value of mine. Now I like
to use the
open-heartedness, because compassion tends
to be specific
to the context
"Compassion is a huge value of mine. Now I
like to use the term open-heartedness, because compassion tends to be
specific to the context of suffering. Of course we want to have open
hearts in the face of suffering, but also want to have open hearts in
the face of joy and when we are at our bests and have great successes
and achievements. Just keep our hearts open no matter what happens,
positive, negative or even neutral. Open mind and open heart, just
trying to stay open." Sub Conference:
From the book,
"Although the fundamental capacity for empathy, which is
part and parcel of mutual recognition, is an innate human feature, we
need to receive sufficient empathy early in life to be able to attain
and maintain true mutuality as well as empathic connection with
ourselves and others.
"Most of us have not had
empathy early in life"
us have not had sufficient empathy early in life, and for many of us
this means that our capacity for empathy gets stunted, both towards
others and towards ourselves. The healing force that allows us to
recover our lost capacity to connect is, once again, empathy. Empathic
connection with another is an almost indispensable condition of psychic
liberation. Although some individuals are able to choose strategic
discomfort on their own, for the most part, the challenges of the
journey are such that they require the presence of empathic others to
sustain it. Without empathy, the likelihood of retreat into our comfort
zone increases. With it, we are more capable of opening up to the
discomfort and the painful emotions which await us on the journey.
That empathy per se is healing has become progressively more accepted.
Being heard, in full, is one of the most profound experiences we humans
can have, and has a transformative effect that more often than not we
don't anticipate. Even a few minutes of this experience can sometimes
transform seemingly intractable situations. Even after years of
practicing and teaching empathy, I still find myself astonished at the
immense power of it. In moments of intense conflict with someone, for
example, I can still forget that the entire conflict can be dissolved in
a few empathic exchanges, as has so often been the case."
Our panel of Empathy-Based Parenting
Educators discuss, What is the Role of Empathy in Different
Parenting Styles? Some of the styles discussed are; Authoritarian,
Authoritative, Indulgent (permissive), Neglectful (uninvolved),
Attachment, Nurturant and Empathic Parenting.
Robbyn Peters Bennett, LMHC, CMHS is a psychotherapist, educator, and
child advocate who specializes in the treatment of trauma-related mental
health problems resulting from the effects of early childhood stress, abuse
and neglect. She is the founder of StopSpanking.org, a non-profit dedicated
to educating the public on the dangers of spanking. She is on the steering
committee of The U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children.
In this dialog we talk about how science shows that we are biologically
wired for empathy and how trauma can block it and ways to restore blocked
empathy. We also discuss the role of empathy in different parenting
I think for some, there is a religious idea that children are innately
sinful, and innately evil even maybe.
But what neuroscience is saying is
that children are innately empathic. That the fundamental
neurobiological orientation of the brain, is it learns though empathy and
through co-regulation and that children have an innate need to connect and
they have an innate need to feel good with us and to enjoy us."
Charles Fay, Ph.D. is a parent, internationally
recognized author, consultant and highly skilled public speaker. He is,
President of the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. The Love and Logic
Institute is dedicated to making parenting and teaching fun and rewarding,
instead of stressful and chaotic. They provide practical tools and
techniques that help adults achieve respectful, healthy relationships with
their children. All of their work is based on a psychologically sound
parenting and teaching philosophy called Love and Logic.
In this interview we discussed the role of empathy in
family life, parenting and the Love and Logic parenting model.
"So, that's the limit's part of it. Now the other end of
has to do with, how do we do this without losing their love?
That comes down to empathy. Remember that word.
When you hear Love and Logic, you think empathy. "
With the religious based wars, murders, mayhem and
chaos in the Middle East, I put together this panel discussion
about how to build more empathy among the different religious
groups. Our panelists are Christians, Muslims and an Atheist who
are located in Iraq and the USA. I was quite surprised at how good
the internet connection was with Northern Iraq.
Here is a summary of some of the main points of the
great dialogue we had together! The four sections of this summary
"Big Empathy is about expanding our empathy to embrace
the suffering and well-being of more of life, more deeply,
more competently, and more seamlessly
than we normally do."
Tom writes: "The co-intelligence worldview embraces
empathy as a fundamental principle, while noting its limitations when
framed only as an individual feeling. Empathy plays a powerful role in
the wise use of intelligence.
Like intelligence, empathy can be exercised in narrow ways that result
in undesirable outcomes or in enlightened ways that support wisdom.
Also like intelligence, expanded forms of empathy can be embedded in
cultures and social systems to generate wiser collective outcomes.
Tom Atlee's major essay Big Empathy proposes that we
need to expand our empathy in three ways:
1. widen our "circle of care" to include more beings of more species
over greater time periods;
2. become better practitioners of empathy; and
3. embed empathy in our cultures and social systems."
Sylvia Morelli is a Postdoctoral Fellow at
Neuroscience Lab at Stanford University. In her
current research, she examines the neural and behavioral basis
of empathy and perspective-taking, as well as the neural
responses associated with feeling understood by others.
We held a
wide ranging discussion about the nature of empathy, and her
work on researching it. In a recent study and paper,
Sylvia explored the neural and behavioral consequences of
research has demonstrated that feeling understood by others
enhances social closeness and intimacy, as well as subjective well-being
Sylvia says, when we are understood, or empathized with, the
pleasure centers of the brain light up. In other words, being
empathized with feels good. "Behavioral
research has demonstrated that feeling understood by others
enhances social closeness and intimacy, as well as subjective
well-being. In contrast, feeling misunderstood can be harmful to
social relationships, leading to loneliness and isolation.
However, it is still unclear why and how felt understanding
exerts such a powerful impact on both interpersonal and
intrapersonal well-being" Sub Conference: Science:
Because mirror neurons re-create for us the distress
we see on the
screen. We have empathy for the
fictional characters - we know how
they feel -
because we literally experience the
Susan Stillman is Director of Education at
Six Seconds, The
Emotional Intelligence Network, Institute for Social Innovation. Through
the Six Seconds website, she is hosting the Empathy Adventure
over a six weeks period.
"Empathy is one of the vital competencies of the 21st century. Empathy
is related to collaboration, building trust, problem solving, health,
and peaceful resolution of conflict. It is an essential component of
leadership and critical to success in business and education. Empathy
and compassion may even be key to the survival of the human race.
" Empathy and compassion may even be key
to the survival of the human race."
Empathy can be viewed even more broadly as
compassionate action. So we're inviting you to this Empathy Adventure -
where we'll come together online to discuss the many types of empathy and
then perform a few simple acts of empathy that will ripple out to many
others. Through personal stories of group members and empathy "experts,"
the group will develop a deep awareness of empathy. We'll observe what
happens when we invite empathy to be more present in our lives, and
document the way it affects us and our interaction with others. Over
approximately six weeks, the project will follow these three stages..."
Sub Conference: Education
Fincina writes, "The significance of this empathetic
relationship between the character on screen and the viewer lies in its
ability to help us see the world from a perspective that may be different
from our own. In this way, empathy provides insight and can lead to greater
My cinema studies PhD examined the portrayal of mental
illness in a selection of feature films from Australia and New Zealand.
While empathy was a key concept in my thesis, this focus only emerged in
the final stages of research and writing (as happens so often in the PhD
journey!). I was keen to return to the study of empathy and explore this
more fully from an interdisciplinary perspective, looking beyond how film
studies scholars have used the concept thus far, towards theorisations of
empathy in history, psychology and philosophy."
Zavis is the Executive Director of the Network
of Spiritual Progressives
and a collaborative divorce attorney, mediator, coach, and conflict
resolution, Empathic Communication trainer. She has
been hosting empathy trainings
co-lead a workshop called, 'Grieving
for Israel and Palestine: a training on how empathy can become a path to
Middle East peace'.
Cat writes, "I sometimes feel a sense of hopelessness at the current
situation and know many people don't have any idea what to do to stop
this madness, nonetheless I am now working to expand our Network of
Spiritual Progressives to help spread a different worldview and to bring
a voice of compassion and empathy to the situation..."
I am now working to expand our Network of Spiritual Progressives
to help spread a different worldview and to bring
a voice of compassion and empathy
The Network of Spiritual Progressives welcomes secular
humanists, atheists and people who are "spiritual but not religious" as
well as people from every religious community who share the values of
love, generosity, creativity, wonder and a commitment to respect one
another. Spirituality is personal but not a private matter; it is about
how we treat each other and how we live our lives.
Designer Cindy van den Bremen was born in
1972 in Vlissingen, a town in the south-west of the Netherlands by the Sea.
From an early age she developed a broad interest in other cultures and
religions. Cindy works independent from her studio CvdBremen in Eindhoven
as an Empathic Designer with an expertise in Cultural Diversity and
teaches at the Technical University in her hometown at the Faculty of
Industrial Design. She gives lectures, presentations & workshops to a
variety of audiences both national and internationally, both in the Dutch
and English language.
Cindy teaches a design workshop titled,
the necessity of Empathy. From the workshop description,
"Designing is the ability to empathize with others. As the title would
assume this lecture and workshop focused on empathy and the necessity of
the added value of empathy in co-design processes. How does empathy help
you in co-design projects? How can you apply it and how can it be an
inspiration in your concept development?
These themes were
discussed and experienced in an interactive and inspiring afternoon. I
realized the complexity of empathy and importance of finding a common
ground. When working with a user to make sure that he or she can find
their own goal and inner motivation."
is a professor of management and economics at South Dakota State
University in Brookings. He teaches classes in management, small business
management, human resource management, marketing research, and
macroeconomics. George is author of How Do I Keep My Employees Motivated?
The Practice of Empathy-Based Management.
From the book description, "Every person in your organization desires to be understood and accepted.
The purpose of this book is to teach you how to empathize with each of
your employees, and create a better work environment. When work days
become mundane, you will learn how to create a sense of connection with
your employees. During stressful times, you can display empathy to calm
and reassure each employee, so that they can think clearly and problem
How Do I Keep My Employees Motivated? provides clear, specific techniques
that teach you how to empathize and create an atmosphere where everyone
working for you feels accepted and understood. Through empathy you will be
able to create an environment that results in professional growth."
BE ANOTHER LAB is an interdisciplinary art
collective dedicated to investigate embodied and telepresence experiments.
We believe that the understanding of the "self" is related to the
understanding of the "Other" and that more than individuals, we are part
of a broader system called humanity. Under this perspective, we search for
innovative possibilities on the concepts of embodied interaction, extended
body and extended mind by mixing low-budget digital technology with social
relations, Web and also neuroscientist methodologies.
The goal of Be Another Lab is to explore
the concepts of empathy through
technology, science, and art.
Programmer seeking the empowerment of individuals and communities by
digital means. He likes to work in interdisciplinary environments where
science, humanities and technology meet and stimulate each other.
Philippe Bertrand Interdisciplinary artist,
investigator, activist. Interested in interactive narratives and 2.0 tools
of social intervention.
We develop Creative Commons tools based on OpenKnowledge and are
collaborating with experimental psychologists and neurologists to develop
usage procedures to 'the machine' as a low-budget rehabilitation system,
and also as an immersive role playing system. Sub
Through empathic encounters, immersive connections
can ultimately diminish feelings of aloneness while strengthening the persons core...
I believe one of your major tasks in moving through the creative process is finding a way
to be more empathic with your own experience.
Also, Anne is coauthor (text) with Marian
Brickner (photography) of
Empathy Magic: Insides Out.
A new book that is a fun and whimsical way to introduce young children to
EMPATHY. Stunning photographs of bonobo apes illustrate what empathy is,
and how empathy helps build good relationships with family and friends.
Cute, fun, and engaging. A wonderful tool to help facilitate social skills
development, as well as to prevent later problems such as bullying, school
violence, and depression. Geared towards children aged 3-7.
Sub Conference: Home & Family
stopped by your tent, and I just wanted to say thank you. The Empathy Tent was incredible to experience.
And I will use the tools you taught me for the rest of my life.
" I was a student at
the California Student Sustainability Coalition this weekend and I
stopped by your tent, and I just wanted to say thank you. The
Empathy tent was incredible to experience. And I will use the
tools you taught me for the rest of my life."
Tent We'll have dialogue, music, art, empathic listening, empathy circles, dancing, Frisbee, soccer,
good company, yoga, meditation, singing, and more.
pictures of our first day at Sproul Plaza.
Please join us today, Tuesday April 23rd, for
our Space on Sproul event, from 10 AM to 4 PM. Look for the big
white empathy canopy and a group of people having a great time.
We'll have dialogue, music, art, empathic listening, empathy
circles, dancing, frisbee, soccer, good company, yoga, meditation,
singing, and more. Feel free to stop by at any time, and bring a
musical instrument, or an activity, or just bring yourself.
Maureen O'Hara is
Professor in the Psychology Department at National University,
La Jolla, CA and President Emerita of Saybrook Graduate School,
San Francisco. Working
with American psychologist Carl R. Rogers, she helped develop
the Person-Centered Approach to psychotherapy and large group
More recently her writings have examined the
relationship between the "big picture" changes underway and
internal psychological adaptation. Combining her background as
psychotherapist, organizational consultant and futurist, Maureen
is a frequent keynote speaker nationally and internationally on
the evolution of new ways of being in a changing world.
She was a contributor to the book, '
Reconsidered: New Directions in Psychotherapy'
Our observations show that group or relational empathy may be even more important than individual empathy
in the formation of conscious communities.
She writes, "In Rogers' original work a key
component of the core facilitative conditions for individual
growth is empathy. Empathy has since been shown to be the gold
standard for effective facilitation in any growth-focused
relationship. Empathy is commonly regarded as an
individual-to-individual phenomenon in which one person senses
the unspoken or inchoate thoughts or feelings of another. Our
observations show that group or relational empathy may be even
more important than individual empathy in the formation of
conscious communities." Sub
Zahavi is a Professor in the Department of Media, Cognition, and
Communication at the University of Copenhagen, where he
specializes in the social dimension of self-experience; the
nature of empathy and its relevance for social cognition; the
relation between phenomenology and naturalism; selfhood and
unity of consciousness with particular focus on no-self
doctrines. Dan is the director of the
Danish National Research
Foundation’s Center for Subjectivity Research.
Eisler is a social scientist, attorney, and author whose work on
cultural transformation has inspired both scholars and social
activists. Her research has impacted many fields, including
history, economics, psychology, sociology, and education. She
has been a leader in the movement for peace, sustainability, and
economic equity, and her
work in human rights has expanded
the focus of international organizations to include the rights
of women and children.
Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics,Riane
says; "When children are taught the
“normality” of domination and submission - and society doesn't
offer alternatives - they often learn to go into denial and
inhibit their capacity for empathy and consciousness,. They then
build family, educational, religious, economic, and political
institutions based on the these principles when they grow up.
And so the cycle repeats itself generation after generation."
"Ridged top-down rankings, whether family or state, are
artificial barriers to trust, empathy, and caring."
Youngson is an anesthesiologist in New Zealand. He is an
International leader in the compassionate healthcare movement
HEARTS in HEALTHCARE
an inspirational community of health professionals, students,
patient advocates, health leaders, and many others who are
champions for compassionate care.
my passion is to
restore the heart of healthcare and to make caring and compassion the
daily lived experience and practice of all in healthcare.
Robin is author of
TIME TO CARE: How to love
your patients and your job. He says, "my passion is to
restore the heart of healthcare and to make caring and
compassion the daily lived experience and practice of all in
healthcare. Health professionals need compassion and caring in
the workplace as much as patients - the rates of burnout,
emotional exhaustion and hopelessness are far too high."
Sub Conference: Health Care
Sara Konrath is
Assistant Research Professor at the Research Center for
Group Dynamics at the
University of Michigan. Sara
is the Principal Investigator of the Interdisciplinary
Program on Empathy and Altruism Research (iPEAR) which is a research
lab with a primary focus on the costs and benefits of empathy and related
traits (e.g. emotional intelligence, narcissism) and behaviors (e.g.
"Imaginatively taking on another person's thoughts and identifying
with their emotions are two habits at the core of empathy. In fact,
empathy is not a fixed trait like having brown eyes or long fingers.
Empathy is instead a delicate cocktail blending assorted elements of
inborn aptitude, social conditioning, personal history, and practice and
The ability to empathize is like a muscle
growth, atrophy, disability, and even regeneration
People have different innate capacities
for building certain
muscles, just as we have
different incentives for
being empathetic and
honing our skills to empathize.
The ability to empathize is like a muscle capable of
growth, atrophy, disability, and even regeneration (think Scrooge). People
have different innate capacities for building certain muscles, just as we
have different incentives for being empathetic and experiences in honing
our skills to empathize. For some people, empathy comes easily and
naturally; for others, concerted effort is required to stretch our
imaginations beyond ourselves."
Jodi Halpern is Associate Professor of Bioethics and Medical
Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Joint Medical
Program and the School of Public Health. As a psychiatrist with a
background in philosophy, she investigates how emotions and the imagination
shape healthcare decisions of clinicians and patients.
I’ve investigated what happens to patients when
their doctors show a lack of empathy.
"As a psychiatrist as well as a faculty member in bioethics at UC Berkeley
for almost two decades, I’ve investigated what happens to patients when
their doctors show a lack of empathy. Doctors were trained to believe that
emotional detachment from patients is personally and professionally
necessary, but experience shows that patients don’t trust doctors who are
aloof or superficially friendly. Yet, only recently have studies proven
just how harmful detachment and how beneficial empathy is for healing...."
Sub Conference: Health Care
Recent evidence shows that adopting an analytic
frame of mind suppresses brain areas involved in empathy, and
emotionally engaging with others suppresses brain areas involved
in analytic thought. This presents a challenge for contexts that
require both forms of thought.
challenges involved in fostering a
empathy and analysis in professional life
teachers and doctors all have professional roles in which optimal
performance depends both on a capacity for clear analytic thought,
and on their ability to emotionally resonate with others. This
panel brings together three experts in the neuroscience of empathy
and how to train it. They discuss the challenges involved in
fostering a balance between empathy and analysis in professional
life, and suggest solutions. Sub Conference:
Mindful self-compassion is the foundation of emotional healing - being
aware in the present moment when we're struggling with feelings of
inadequacy, despair, confusion, and other forms of stress (mindfulness)
and responding with kindness and understanding (self-compassion).
Mindful self-compassion is the foundation of emotional healing
- being aware in the present moment when we're struggling
with feelings of inadequacy, despair, confusion,
and other forms of stress
To build a culture of empathy and compassion, Chris says we
need to have a societal discussion about what values are really important
to us. They did this in Bhutan where they have the "gross national
happiness" index. Also, that we need to develop extensive empathy
and compassion trainings. He said, the average American watches TV for 4
hours a day. What if we used that time learning about empathy and
compassion? What a different world it would be. Sub Conference:
a form of psychotherapy that
emphasizes the development of self-compassion in
people who are prone to feelings of
shame and self-criticism.
Paul says, "After years of exploring the processes
underpinning shame and its role in a variety of psychopathologies, my
current research is exploring the neurophysiology and therapeutic
effectiveness of compassion focused therapy."
publisher describes Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) as "a
form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the development of self-compassion
in people who are prone to feelings of shame and self-criticism. Created
by Paul Gilbert and his colleagues, this therapy is rooted in Mahayana
Buddhist psychology, which considers compassion and mindfulness to be
central to healing the mind. CFT develops four skills: compassionate
attention, compassionate thinking, compassionate behavior, and
This therapy has been proven effective for the treatment of eating
disorders, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions, and
can even benefit those who do not suffer from these disorders as it
improves emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and nonjudgment."
In this interview, Paul and Edwin have a wide ranging
discussion about shame, depression, empathy and compassion, as well as,
how to foster compassion in society. Sub Conference:
Michael Slote is Professor of Ethics. He has
taught at Columbia University, Trinity College, Dublin, and
the University of Maryland, where he was department chair for
many years. He has written many articles in philosophy of
mind, ethics, and political philosophy.
He is also author of many books
The Ethics of Care and Empathy. This book makes use of the
recent psychology literature on empathy to develop a version
of care ethics that applies to both personal and political
I shall, for example, be
making use of the recent
literature of psychology to argue that
is the primary mechanism of
benevolence, compassion, etc...
In this dialog we went through Michael's book
and discussed it chapter by chapter. Michael says,
"Care ethicists often speak about empathy and its role in
caring attitudes and relationships, but they haven't stressed
empathy to anything like the extent that I shall be doing
here. I shall, for example, be making use of the recent
literature of psychology to argue that empathy is the primary
mechanism of caring, benevolence, compassion, etc... I
argue further, that caring motivation is based in and
sustained by our human capacity for empathy with others."
We've launched a new project to set up an Empathy
some of the occupy encampments in order to support
building a culture of empathy and compassion
resolution, empathy circles,
empathic listening, mediation, dialog,
restorative justice, trainings, etc.
Jo Kennedy is a Focusing practitioner and trainer. After a
25 year meditation practice she was deeply moved when she discovered
Jo writes, "What I had been yearning for had been there all
along; what the meditation teachers had been talking about was suddenly
accessible. I was offered the missing link.
Focusing is a profound
form of deep listening, it has enriched my life,
shown me how to build strength in my cancer recovery and given me access
to an ongoing source of creativity and healing.
Learning to listen into this deep, more bodily knowing has given me the
gift of myself."
Jan van Hemessen (wikimedia)
Focusing is a profound form of deep listening,
enriched my life...
and given me access to an
ongoing source of
creativity and healing...
In this hour, Jo demonstrates the Focusing process
with me. I was the "focuser" and followed my felt sense and Jo was
the "listener". Just coming out of a conflict with my girl
friend, I was
feeling quite stressed and full of anxiety. Jo guided me thought the
process and after about 45 minutes, I felt quite relaxed and spacious.
As I described my felt sense and what was arising in me in real-time, Jo
would use empathic listening to reflect what she was hearing. Once the
session was done, we
then talked about the process and the nature of empathy and Focusing.
Patrick Quattlebaum is Managing Director of
Adaptive Path, an experience
strategy and design company. Patrick is also an
in demand consultant who helps organizations envision, architect, and
manifest new product and service experiences. He’s a passionate strategist, designer, humanist, storyteller, facilitator, and teacher.
Patrick wrote an article 'Service
Design Soft Skill Builder: Empathy' about
using and practicing empathy in the Human-Centered Design process.
We talk a lot about
other people's empathy.
But what about your own?
What about mine?
In this dialog we discussed
his article and explored ways to increase and practice our personal
empathy skills. Patrick writes, "We, the design community, talk (and
write and speak) a lot about empathy. We lament the empathy deficit in
our companies and clients and cry "something must be done about
this." We tout personas, empathy maps, experience maps, and other
methods as empathy deficit reducers that lead to better experiences (and
profits). Some, at the extremes, position human-centered designers
as Platonic figures releasing stakeholders from the shadows of opinion
and faceless analytics into the reality of human emotions, needs, and
desires. We talk a lot about other people's empathy. But what about your own?
What about mine? "
Indi Young is a user experience consultant, author, founding
partner at Adaptive Path.
"My book about empathy and generating better services and products for the
people you support via mental model diagrams is gaining more and more
attention. I'm happy to teach a workshop for your organization or help your
team through the method...
Empathy is your tool for understanding
how people think and feel...
Empathy is your tool for understanding how people think and feel.
Schooling your thoughts to think and feel the way someone else does is a
powerful way to do a lot of things, including design and guiding the
direction of your work."
Sub Conference: Human-Centered-Design
Olga Klimecki did her PhD with
Tania Singer at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and at the
Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany. She is interested in understanding the neural
mechanisms that shape our social emotions in adaptive ways. In several longitudinal studies,
how far training social emotions, like compassion and empathy, changes
affective experience, prosocial behaviour, and neural function (as measured
Olga started as a postdoctoral researcher at the Swiss
Center for Affective Sciences in Geneva,
Switzerland. The goal of the current project is to investigate the
elicitation, expression and regulation of anger.
In our dialog we discussed different definitions of
empathy, sympathy, compassion, personal distress,
compassion fatigue and empathy fatigue.
In our dialog we discussed different definitions of empathy, sympathy,
compassion, personal distress, compassion fatigue and empathy fatigue.
People use these various terms differently and interchangeably. This causes
a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding. We also explored
dealing with personal distress
and developing personal resilience
by using mindfulness practices, empathic listening and empathy circles. Sub Conferences:
Eva Scherer, professional body worker and the
owner of several Sports & Therapeutic massage clinics in Auckland. In
2000 with like-minded professionals, Eva established
Trust, a registered charity.
Our programmes teach Peace and Empathy
in the purest way... Most people would react with
surprise or disbelief at the concept of
empathy being taught in schools...
The aim of this organization is to introduce massage
into the mainstream education system as a low-cost prevention for child
abuse and family violence. Since then, her award winning Children
Massaging Children programme has benefited children in New Zealand as
well as overseas.
"Our programmes teach Peace and Empathy in the purest
way... Most people would react with surprise or
disbelief at the concept of empathy being taught in schools; however, this
idea is more than mere wishful thinking. The idea of teaching children
empathy has been the subject of extensive research in New Zealand and also
the focus of at least two Master's degree theses in Poland."
Christian Keysers is professor and group leader of the Social Brain Lab at
the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands. The lab
explores the biological nature and neuroscience of empathy.
Christian is author of 'The Empathic Brain: How the Discovery of Mirror
Neurons Changes our Understanding of Human Nature'.
A brain imaging study in the Netherlands shows individuals
with psychopathy have reduced empathy while
witnessing the pains of others.
discusses his teams new findings. "A brain imaging study in the Netherlands shows individuals with
psychopathy have reduced empathy while witnessing the pains of others.
When asked to empathize, however, they can activate their empathy."
ScienceDaily . Sub Conferences:
David Howe is currently an Emeritus Professor in the School
of Social Work and Psychology at the University of East Anglia. After an early career as a child
care officer and social worker, in 1976 David Howe began his present
career as a university researcher and teacher. His research and writing interests
span social work theory, adoption, emotional intelligence, attachment
theory, and child abuse and neglect.
Empathy is profoundly important for understanding
people's feelings and behaviour. It is not only
an essential skill in conducting successful
personal and working relationships, it also
helps us understand what makes
people moral and societies decent.
date, David has written 17 books, many of them regarded as best-sellers.
He is author of Empathy: What it is and why it matters. "Empathy is key to good relationships. In its absence, behavior becomes
puzzling, even dangerous. David Howe's fascinating new book examines what
empathy is, why we have it and how it develops. He explores the important
part empathy plays in child development and therapeutic work as well as
its significance for how society organizes itself."
Sub Conference: Science
I've been developing an Empathy Circle process that is based on the
empathic listening work of Carl Rogers. I've held hundreds of these
small group empathic conversations that are the best process I've found
for nurturing and practicing empathy.
These are small group empathic conversations
are the best process I've found for
nurturing and practicing empathy,
even with a narcissist psychopath.
been wondering how this process would work with Narcissists and
lined up an Empathy Circle with
Sam Vaknin, who is diagnosed as a narcissist
with psychopathic tendencies.
Psychopathy & Narcissism
Marsh is a
professor at Georgetown University. Her
area of expertise includes social and affective neuroscience,
particularly understanding emotions such as empathy and how they
relate to aggression, altruism, violence and psychopathy. Her
research is aimed at understanding aspects of human social
interactions, emotional functioning, and empathy using cognitive
neuroscience methods, with a particular focus on emotion and
The course addresses such questions
Are humans innately selfish or empathic?
What do we mean when we say empathy?
Her research also includes studies with
adolescents and adults that incorporate neuroimaging, cognitive
and behavioral testing, and pharmacology techniques.
Abigail also teaches a course titled "Empathy,
Altruism, & Aggression." The course addresses such
questions as; Are humans innately selfish or empathic? What do
we mean when we say empathy? Do selfish or empathic behaviors
succeed best in the long term? What is a psychopath? "
Sub Conference: Science and
people without a
conscience, who prey on those
with high levels of empathy
"Sociopathy affects an estimated 1-4% of the
population, but not all sociopaths are cold-blooded murderers. They're
best described as people without a conscience, who prey on those with
high levels of empathy, but themselves lack any concern for others'
feelings and show no remorse for their actions. Drawing on real life
cases, The Empathy Trap explores this taboo subject and looks at how
people can protect themselves against these arch-manipulators." Sub Conference:
Gretchen Jennings is a longtime museum professional, having
worked as an educator, administrator, and exhibition project director in a
variety of museums - art, history, and science. She is currently editor of
journal of the National Association for Museum Exhibition.
advocating for and
writing about the The Empathetic Museum.She is also leading a discussion among museum professionals about
the role of empathy.
In our dialog Gretchen talks
about her vision for the Empathetic Museum and what that entails.
She writes, "I was thinking about institutional body
language when the word empathy first occurred to me in connection with
museums some time ago. Empathy, the experience of feeling with and not
just for another, requires a strong core, a sense of self that can dare to
be open to the experience of others. I think of the truly empathetic
person as one whose inner and outer expressions of compassion are
consonant with each other.
I was thinking about institutional body language
when the word empathyfirst occurred to me
in connection with museums some time ago.
Institutions have an inner core, an identity; and they can
also manifest a kind of body language – messages that come through loud
and clear even when the mission statement, website, and marketing
materials say something different. An institution that is not at its core
truly visitor-centered, dedicated to inclusion, and committed to its
community cannot, in my view, attract and retain the new and diverse
audiences it may say it wants. "
As part of The Empathetic Museum interview series, Edwin
interviews museum professionals about how they use and foster empathy in
VP Education, Levine Museum of New South
Mitroff Silvers is a web strategy and implementation consultant and
workshop facilitator with experience launching digital products in museums,
nonprofits, and educational organizations. A theme in her current work is
how mission-driven organizations can integrate principles of human-centered
design into their practice.
One of the core principles of design thinking is
on human values at every stage of the process...
And empathy for the people for whom you’re designing is
fundamental to this process...
She writes, "One of the core principles of design thinking
is its focus on human values at every stage of the process. And empathy for
the people for whom you’re designing is fundamental to this process...
There have been several recent discussions about empathy in museum
practice, ranging from Regan Forrest’s writings about empathy in the
context of interpretation on the Interactivate blog to Gretchen Jenning’s
write-up about The Empathetic Museum at AAM to Suse Cairns’s post on the
Museum Geek blog, On the paradoxes of empathy.
I’m thrilled that empathy seems to be an emerging meme among my museum
peers. The current discussions touch on the application of empathy at all
levels of museums, from institutional policy to interpretive practices. One
aspect of empathy that I think is missing in these discussions is how it is
used and applied in the context of the design thinking process."
Josh Stearns is a journalist, organizer and community
strategist. He is
Public Media Campaign Director for Free Press, a national,
non-partisan, non-profit organization working to reform the media through
education, organizing and advocacy. In this dialog we talk about the role
of empathy, listening and community in journalism.
Josh wrote the article,
The Need for Listening and Empathy in Journalism.
He writes, "What is the role of empathy in journalism?... the
question of empathy has two facets: empathy in the newsroom, and the
empathy our stories foster in our readers. What connects these two
elements is the act of listening...
What is the role of empathy in
Better reflecting and responding
to our communities has to
start with better listening...
Better reflecting and responding to our communities has to start with
better listening. While journalism is rooted in interviews, there’s not
enough discussion about the need to listen to our communities. And by
listening, I don’t mean simply talking to sources or listening for story
leads; I mean listening for the sake of understanding and building truly
reciprocal relationships with readers."
Sarah Lloyd-Hughes is a
popular speaker on confidence and inspiration, an award winning social
entrepreneur, founder of
Ginger Training & Coaching
and author of “How
to Be Brilliant at Public Speaking: Any Audience. Any Situation.”
In her speaking and courses, Sarah teaches that to become a more
influential communicator doesn’t involve pretending to be someone you’re
not – instead you must understand and unleash the six qualities of an
inspiring speaker that already live inside you.
Sarah wrote an article
Inspire through Empathy
about the role of empathy in public speaking andGetting
to know your audience (part 2).
writes, "One of the biggest problems speakers face is focusing too
much on themselves and not enough on their audience. Developing an
empathetic approach to public speaking will help your speaking in more
ways than one…
Developing an empathetic approach to
public speaking will help your speaking
in more ways than one...
Empathy is one of the six qualities of an inspiring speaker, that I
write about it my book “How
to be Brilliant at Public Speaking”. So many presenters fail to
realize how important empathy truly is, focusing on their ever growing
list of information they wish to impart.
think more about what they want to say versus what the audience wants to
hear. Ever hear a speaker begin with, “Hello. My name is (fill in the
blank) and I’m here to speak to you today about… blah blah blah yadda
yadda”? That’s the very LAST thing that will get your audience engaged.
Why not try empathy instead?"
Sandy Hope is a counsellor working with adults and young
people in UK. Sandy works from a Carl Rogers Person-Centred perspective
and holds workshops on Domestic Violence and Abuse, Difference and
Privilege, as well as, Anger Awareness. Sandy wrote the article
Empathy – a revolutionary actand says, "If we want a radical feminist revolution that
overturns our current ways of thinking and responding to the world, I
believe, and I’m not alone, that this begins (and ends) with empathy.
If we want a radical feminist revolution
that overturns our
current ways of thinking and responding to the world,
I believe, (and I’m not alone), that this begins
(and ends) with empathy...
The style of thinking that characterises patriarchy/kyriarchy is
individualistic, self-orientated, and based on competition, control and
domination. It comes from a false belief that these are the natural
drivers of human nature, a belief that is unfortunately
I started my Facebook page,Lesbians
and Feminists Against Transphobia my
purpose was to build empathy between feminist, lesbian and trans*
communities. Although this was intended to be a reciprocal process, and
the empathy needs to be two-way, I was motivated by the institutional
transphobia I had encountered within lesbian and feminist circles towards
trans* people, a phenomenon entirely based in lack of empathy. This
mattered to me because I witnessed the social exclusion of trans* people
as having a profoundly detrimental effect on their psychological wellbeing"
How might we empathically redesign our community to better support our
deepest dreams, values, needs and aspirations? Let us come together to
reignite the embers of personal and community empathy!
We will learn how to listen and respond so that each person feels loved,
heard, seen, and appreciated. When we work together we can co-create
harmonious loving relationships and communities.
"We'll have to reignite the embers
of empathy and fellow feeling"
"The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the
mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate. But it also teaches
us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work
together. We'll have to
reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of
conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago."Barack
Roman Krznaric is
a cultural thinker and writer on the art of living. He is a founding
faculty member of The School of Life in London, which offers instruction
and inspiration on the important questions of everyday life, and advises organisations including Oxfam and the United Nations on using empathy and
conversation to create social change. He has been named by The Observer as
one of Britain's leading lifestyle philosophers.
Roman is author of
Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution.
I believe that empathy – the imaginative act of
stepping into another person's shoes and
viewing the world from their perspective –
is a radical tool for social change and
should be a guiding light
for the art of living.
From the book
description; "Through encounters with actors, activists, groundbreaking
designers, undercover journalists, nurses, bankers and neuroscientists,
Krznaric defines a new breed of adventurer. He sets out the six
life-enhancing habits of highly empathetic people, whose skills enable
them to connect with others in extraordinary ways. Empathy has the power
to transform relationships, from the personal to the political. Krznaric
contends that, as we move on from an age of introspection, empathy will be
key to fundamental social change - making this book a manifesto for
Mark Ingwer is a business psychologist and the founding
partner of Insight Consulting Group, a global marketing and strategy
consultancy specializing in consumer and business insights. He
has over 25 years experience applying his unique blend of psychology,
marketing, and business acumen to helping companies optimize their brand
and marketing strategy based on an in-depth understanding of their
practice empathy in its marketing
and thus falls short of truly
connecting with customers.
Mark is author of
Empathetic Marketing: How to Satisfy the 6 Core Emotional Needs of Your
Customers. He writes,
"A business that invests in empathy devotes itself to understanding the
emotional needs and motivations of its customers, and aligns itself to meet
them. Companies have increasingly embraced the role of emotion in selling
products and services, but often merely pay lip service to its importance
without understanding how to harness it."
Annika Wachter and Roberto Gallego are founders of
Tasting Travels, a project
that seeks to promote bicycle travel as a model to cultivate empathy. They
have ridden their bicycles from Europe to Australia and beyond.
They say, "We are a multicultural couple that decided in
2011 to explore a thin line around the world by bicycle. Our main goal is
to promote bike travel as a model to cultivate empathy.... We are moved by
the strong belief that bike travel is an excellent way to cultivate
empathy in our world, not only towards human beings but to other living
... bike travel is an excellent way
to cultivate empathy in our world,
not only towards human beings but
to other living species...