Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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German TV Programs on Empathy (Empathie)







Scobel - Empathie Part1   (10 min)

"Über Entstehung und Verlust des Mitgefühls
"In unserer Kultur sind die am erfolgreichsten, die am meisten von Ihren Gefühlen und der Fähigkeit zum Mitgefühl abgeschnitten sind", sagt der Schriftsteller und Psychoanalytiker Arno Gruen. Sind wir wirklich eine Gesellschaft voller Egoisten, denen das Mitgefühl für andere fehlt? Das ist eine der Fragen, denen "scobel" im Rahmen dieser Sendung zum Thema Empathie nachgehen wird."


  • Exploring the nature of empathy

  • The lack of empathy

  • talking with Arno Gruen

    • to see our pain in the other

    • empathy is basis of people living together

  • What happens when there's a lack of empathy?

    • stories when people don't have empathy and do violence

  • An Expert on Violence

    • influences

      • genetics

      • childhood attachment

      • socialization

    • We are social beings

    • can one fix past problems?

      • empathy training

      • is difficult

      • need to develop a sense of self

      • need to be able to articulate your own feelings before connecting to others.

      • people tell the story of suppressing pain and becoming numb

      • people close themselves off - causes stress

Scobel - Empathie Part2 

  • Violence and empathy

  • How does empathy get developed

  • The development of empathy (Doris Bischof-Koehler - entwicklungspsycoholgin)

    • 10-12 month babies cry when other babies cry

      • take on the pain of others

      • as emotional contagion

        • laughter

        • yawning

        • we don't realize the emotion started in the other

    • Development of an I,  (perspective taking)

      • are able to start understanding that the feelings originate in me or in your

      • (perspective taking)

      • allows for emotional boundaries

    • 18 month to age 4 (perspective taking)

      • empathy test: child sees someone in distress, is first unsure, then decides to help by caring a teddy bear to the person in distress.

      • need self awareness

      • -need to know yourself in the mirror (mirror)

      • video of mimes mirroring each other

    • 4 yr: Theory of Mind (perspective taking)

      • can put yourself into the mind of the other

    • 7 yr. contextual empathy

      • the story of others and the context of others

      • can hide feelings in certain situations?

      • an empath can see those feelings

    • Sadism - can feel the pain of others and enjoy it

      • negative mirroring

      • empathize with the pain of others and enjoy it.

    • A Healthy attachment in childhood helps the development of empathy

      • attachment  if it's not there in childhoods - development is hindered

        • children get flooded with emotions/feelings of others

        • or put on poker faces - hind

      • Does lack of childhood attachment lead to violence in later life?

    • What is known is that empathy is the  foundation of social interaction

  • Round table talk: Tania Singer, Sebastian Morgen?,

    •  What is empathy?

      • there's not a total common definition

      • 1. feeling with: your sad  - I'm sad

      • 2. compassion: same feeling but concern for the other

      • empathy doesn't necessarily mean that I will help you?

      • I feel (empathize with) the persons feelings and I detach from it. and say go away.

      • differentiation of empathy

        • cognitive

        • feeling with (affective)

Scobel - Empathie Part3

  • To explain this look at psychopaths, autism

  • psychopaths doesn't  have the  emotional empathy but has the cognitive part and can manipulate, has Theory of Mind, ToM

  • autism, have difficulty with ToM, but have emotional empathy

  • What does broken bonding mean?

    • secure: mother leaves room, child cries, comes comes back, child is consoled

    • insecure: child is not consoled

  • Sadists:  know how to inflict pain

  • Empathy in therapy: therapists listens, doesn't judge,

  • Empathy holds the group together - external aggression

  • Studies: ingroup and out-group empathy and shadenfrude for harm to the out-group

  • empathy is regulated through cognition

  • Does empathy increase the stress - (because you feel others pain)

    • convert the feeling in compassion/love

    • cognitive control to suppress the feelings?

    • Shared pain feeling builds connection and bonding

      • 'shared pain is halved pain'

      • 'shared joy is doubled joy'

  • children in difficult situations cannot go through the development of this process'

    • children can become overwhelming with feelings - learn regulation from parents, etc

    • don't development a regulation mechanism

    • Therapy - teaches people with these difficulties to perceive their own feelings

    • Empathy and personal perceptions

    • Develop an inner picture what pain means to others.


Scobel - Empathie Part4

  • Tania Singer: For a long time empathy was seen as a not serious field of study

  • Study 1: mediation relationship

    • Matthieu Richard - monk was studied

    • plasticity of the brain

    • pain test- empathy with others

    • compassion

  • Study 2:  empathy and children

    • 80 children - feels hands sensation. good or bad.

    • study empathy and it's control

  • Tania Singer Neuro  scientists

    • empathy trainings program

      • open you heart while brushing your teeth, etc

      • (mindfulness studies)

    • mirror neurons

Scobel - Empathie Part5

  • Mirror neurons

    • I must first feel myself so that I know what others are feeling

    • the neuro networks that allow us to feel are the ones we use to feel others

    • alextumya (sp?) can't read their own feelings

      • need to first learn to read your own feelings

  • Segment:  Compassion in Religions

    • means differently in different religions

    • overcoming suffering

    • Seeing suffering on TV

      • how to develop empathy instead of getting numb

      • who is my neighbor?

      • religions supported emotional intelligence

    • good Samaritan story

    • Catholic: compassion in . Mary symbol

    • Without empathy life would be hell

    • infrastructures to support empathy,

    • sympathy - suffer with

    • Buddhism -

      • letting go of attachments

      • don't be affected by the world

      • end of self-identification

      • breathing exercise

        • breath in:  take in the suffering

        • breath out: open my hearth and share my energy

        • may all find healing and be happy

      • empathy exercise

    • Hindus - I am you - removing boundaries between me and you

    • These processes haven't helped with social decay in any of there countries

    • But, Aren't the secular developed countries empathy 3rd world countries ?

  • Round Table: Do religious rules make people more empathic?

    • can you force feelings? It doesn't work

    • religions set rules -

    • religions can expand the in group?

    • help the needy,

Scobel - Empathie - das Gefühl für den Anderen Part6

Über Entstehung und Verlust des Mitgefühls 'In unserer Kultur sind die am erfolgreichsten, die am meisten von Ihren Gefühlen und der Fähigkeit zum Mitgefühl abgeschnitten sind", sagt der Schriftsteller und Psychoanalytiker Arno Gruen. Sind wir wirklich eine Gesellschaft voller Egoisten, denen das Mitgefühl für andere fehlt? Das ist eine der Fragen, denen "scobel" im Rahmen dieser Sendung zum Thema Empathie nachgehen wird.

  • Christianity: there are rules: you should have compassion

  • Buddhism: see our common humanity

  • training - reducing the boundaries between us

  • Compassion itself reduces suffering

  • Compassion is a win win situation

  • people do all kinds of training but are not ready to do spend the time on empathy training

  • there's no tradition of empathy training in our culture

  • We want to study the empathy  learning part

  • there's a long tradition of empathy in the therapy field

    • a lot of talking about feelings

    • role playing

    • Tai chi

    • mediation

    • theater - fun...

    • (Arts -Dance)


Im Gespräch: Arno Gruen: Direct

Arno Gruen - Empathie und soziales Verhalten: Youtube

Arno Gruen - Empathie (das Gefühl für den Anderen) und soziales Verhalten -
Interview in Scobel (3sat) vom 29. Oktober 2009


Empathie: Das neue Menschenbild - trotz allem gut statt böse? 50 min

[German discussion video about empathy]
"Das neue Menschenbild - trotz allem gut statt böse?" - Gäste: Tania Singer, Thomas Metzinger und Manfred Milinski. Gäste:  

  • 9/11 - firemen had empathy  - terrorist has no empathy

  • besides all we are still good

  • terrorism in Norway -

  • Tania Singer

    • how do we build models in our heads of others

    • how do we understand others?

      • empathy -we felt the pain of 9/1

      • how terrorists other disconnect empathy

      • do tests with fMRI

      • how we feel the other

      • differentiate our feelings from the other

    • in-group out-group

      • see the out-group in pain we like it

      • we are capable for empathy

      • we are capable for non empathy and joy at others pain

    • Is the picture of humanity changing?

      • we need the other


Was ist Empathie und was nicht?