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International Online Conference on:
How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?
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Index: Panel 19: The Challenge of Balancing Analysis and Empathy
Date:   2012-12-11

 Panel 19: The Challenge of Balancing Analysis and Empathy


Anthony Jack
Helen Riess
Richard Boyatzis
Edwin Rutsch

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.

Managers, 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: Science

 Panel 19: The Challenge of Balancing Analysis and Empathy




 Anthony I. Jack



Anthony Jack, PhD (Tony) is Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science, Philosophy, and Psychology in the Brain, Mind and Consciousness laboratory in the Department of Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.


He says, "I have a PhD in Experimental Psychology and extensive training in Philosophy and Neuroscience. I started out doing largely theoretical work on consciousness, but then got interested by the emerging field of brain imaging. I use fMRI to study attention, consciousness and social processing in the brain." 


Helen Riess, M.D



Helen Riess, M.D. is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry,
Harvard Medical School and Director of the Empathy and Relational Science Program at Massachusetts General Hospital
. The mission of the Program is to enhance empathy and interpersonal relationships in healthcare. She is also Chief Technology Officer of Empathetics which offers scientifically based empathy training proven to optimize interpersonal engagement.


Richard Boyatzis



"Richard Boyatzis is Professor in the Departments of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University, as well as H.R. Horvitz Chair in Family Business. He is also an Adjunct Professor at ESADE. While at Case, he has served as Department Chair of Organizational Behavior from 1996-2004, and Associate Dean of Executive Education from 1994-1999. He has won special awards at Case for research, two awards for teaching, and two awards for service."


Edwin Rutsch



Convener:  Edwin Rutsch is founding director of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. See his full Bio here.





Discussion Transcript and Outline:

  • 00:00 Introduction

  • (transcription pending)

  • (Video Transcriptions: If you would like to take empathic action and create a transcription of this video, check the volunteers page.  The transcriptions will make it easier for other viewers to quickly see the content of this video.)