Culture of Empathy Builder: Paul Bloom
Continued From Page 1
Paul Bloom is a Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University. His research explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on language, morality, religion, fiction, and art.
"I am interested in the development and nature of our common-sense understanding of ourselves and other people... My students and I are becoming interested in certain fundamental questions within moral psychology."
Other Work by Paul Bloom
Against empathy | Robert Wright & Paul Bloom
00:11 Paul’s brand new book, Against Empathy
05:51 The damage empathy can do
13:01 The difference between empathy and compassion
25:18 Why our moral intuitions aren’t so moral
29:44 Are low empathy people more likely to hurt others?
43:52 Empathy as moral jet fuel
51:23 The costs and benefits of feeling other people’s pain
Paul Bloom on why VR empathy projects won’t save the world: Empathy is all too easy to exploit
"Can we save the world through empathy? For the past year, that idea has been a
source of public debate as people try to figure out who deserves empathy, who
doesn’t, and how to cultivate more of it to solve our problems.
Technology has been a key part of this conversation. Virtual reality proponents have long seen the potential of their work to do good, whether it’s using Oculus Rift to understand homelessness or trying to Kickstart an “empathy-increasing device to end avoidable violence.”
All of this is misguided, says Yale University psychology professor Paul Bloom, whose book Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion came out this week. First things first: Bloom is a fan of empathy. He thinks it’s an important and powerful experience. But using empathy alone to make decisions can cause real harm, and calling for “more empathy” in politics isn’t the solution to our problems."
by Angela Chen
Review: ‘Against Empathy,’ or the Right Way to Feel Someone’s Pain
By JENNIFER SENIOR
DEC. 6, 2016
"Paul Bloom’s new book, “Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion,” is too highbrow to be a self-help or parenting manual, but parts of it could be. Its wingspan is too wide to be a simple guide to philanthropy, but parts of it could be that as well. And it’s a bit too clotted with caveats to be a seamless read, which is a shame, because it could have been, with more shaping.
Look past the book’s occasional loop-the-loops and intellectual fillips. “Against Empathy” is an invigorating, relevant and often very funny re-evaluation of empathy, one of our culture’s most ubiquitous sacred cows, which in Mr. Bloom’s view should be gently led to the abattoir."
By Tom Bartlett
NOVEMBER 27, 2016
Paul Bloom on why we should feel less
"No one argues in favor of empathy. That’s because no one needs to: Empathy is an unalloyed good, like sunshine or cake or free valet parking. Instead we bemoan lack of empathy and nod our heads at the notion that, if only we could feel the pain of our fellow man, then everything would be OK and humanity could, at long last, join hands together in song."
The Trouble With Empathy: Allyson Kirkpatrick interviews Paul Bloom
February 1, 2016
"My complaint is against empathy as a moral guide. But as a source of pleasure, it can’t be beat."
Paul Bloom lectures
"His lecture at Holy Cross, held September 24, 2015, is one of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity."
Writing book on empathy - I'm against it. and I want to convince you to be against it too.
Terminological Problem -
if empathy means means concern, compassion, kindness, love, morality - I'm for it.
Social cognition - mind reading - cognitive empathy. understand what people are thinking.
mixed feelings about this - this is amoral - a con man can do this.
What I mean by empathy is what Adam Smith mentioned as sympathy - putting ourselves in other peoples shoes.
Examples by Smith
We literally feel what other people feel
Mirror neuron - I'm critical of these
mirroring and mimicking
Lots of people study Empathy
Frans De Waal
Simon Baron Cohen
Obama talks about it
lots of books on empathy
lots of interest in empathy
helping the drowning child
9:41 - Jesse Prinz - situations where empathy can't be relevant because there no specific victim
situations where you can't point to one person that is affected. shoplift, cheat on taxes, throw garbage out the window.
Sherry Summers Batson study. People give her preferential treatment when they empathize with her.
12:30 - Fans of empathy will tell you it is like a spotlight. Empathy can zoom you in and make things matter.
Care for people we know versus statistics.
Stalin: "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic."
Mother Teresa, :if I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one. I will.
Studies: Deborah Small and George Lowenstein - Raise money for habitat for humanity. Say a family 'has been chosen' for house or 'will be chosen'. People give more for 'have been' chosen house since people can envision the specific family.
Donations for statistics versus for a specific person in need. People give more.
Empathy zooms you in to focus on one person.
14:15 - studies, if I put in my shoes you will mater to me more than other people.
often point them in the wrong places
because empathy has spotlight properties it is
15:00 Focus - Examples - lot's of focus on these by the public
Baby Jessica - got stuck in a well.
Natalie Holloway - lost abducted or killed while traveling
she got more attention (18x) than the famine in the Sudan
Newtown School shooting -
Why do they get the attention? there are lots of other problems, shootings, etc
17:00 - Thomas Shelling -"the identifiable victim effect.'
Statistical deaths don't trigger our empathy and don't move us
Ebola, journalists place more focus on whites than black victims
Study bias with race, juries will execute blacker defendants.
this is not special to empathy but empathy is particularly vulnerable to it. because empathy works by putting yourself in particular peoples shoes. It is manipulated by focus and bias.
we are more biased to our pain of a poke in the finger than 1 billion Chinese
Desy et al, 2007 Study, we empathize more with fingers like ours .
(feeling upset, angry? needing equal care for all people?)
Study: soccer fan care more about their fellow team fans
Study: people suffering from aids - people had a lot of empathy
but it dropped when told the cause of it. (judgments inhibit empathy)
Example - vaccine story - it causes harm to one person, people get upset and stop it and those that could be helped are hindered. even if there are statistics that the program helps more people than it harms. (need to follow the statistics as the best way to foster well being.) you can empathize with the family and the lose but not with the statistic of all the others.
22:00 Example - Willie Horton story. he is furloughed and rapes a woman and the furlough program is closed even thought the program saved lives. So people didn't look at the statistics but were all emotional or empathic.
you can empathize with people who have been assaulted but you can't empathize with people who may not have been assaulted because of the program.
23:18 - Third Would Aid. Often Aid is motivated by an empathic motivation. How effective is this really?
story of why warlords chop of children's limbs. They do it for the Wests attention
Child beggars - your giving out of empathy, and this supports a criminal organization.
the desire to empathically help is very powerful but gives the wrong answer
don't be governed by emotional feelings that are evoked
use your head and your heart.
i.e. Lakoff say progressive values is based on empathy
empathy tests, liberals are more empathic
least empathic are Libertarians
it's really about to whom empathy is targeted.
Affirmative action - empathy toward poor black kid
Abortion - empathy toward pregnant mother.
Gun Control - empathy toward people suffering
Environmental crisis - empathy is useless for this because there is no one to empathize with, it's all future individuals. (not familiar with imaginative empathy)
Affirmative action - empathy toward white kid
Abortion - empathy toward fetus
Gun Control- empathy toward people who are defenseless
Environmental crisis - empathy with people who will lose their jobs, pay higher taxes in the here and now.
Doctor patient - may people think doctors should be more empathic.
programs in medical schools try to train doctors to be more empathic
they should be nicer, listen, understand,
but what about feeling the patients pain? (emotional contagion)
30:00 Empathy Exams - model patient ranks the doctors
author wants competence in a doctor. not to have my fear. wants doctor to be come.
Therapy - they should care for their patients.
If I am with therapist and I'm anxious I don't want the therapist to be anxious. (emotional contagion)
want therapist to care and understand but not to infect them with my feelings. don't want therapist to absorb my feelings. makes less effective
Buddhism - has concept of Sentimental Compassion and Great Compassion.
Sentimental compassion - That's what I call empathy - feeling the suffering on another person
Sentimental compassion will exhaust you
Great Compassion - compassion at a distance. (culture of empathy - expanding empathy for self, others.)
32:00 Tania Singer - Mathew Ricard - Study: They train people to feel empathy and others for compassion.
loving kindness meditation - love and care for people
empathic distress - lead to problems. burnout
have distinction between caring/compassion and empathy
Jon Ronson - says core of psychopathy is lack of empathy
Meta study of psychopathy - relationship of aggression and empathy "The (non Relation between empathy and Aggression: Surprising Results from a Meta-Analysis. David Vachon
says there is no relationship
how empathic you are doesn't predict who aggressive you are.
My Complaint is about empathy for moral judgment and action
Empathy can be source of pleasure.
Reading, movies and being in the shoes of others is fun
Sharing a book with others - see the pleasure of others.
A case in empathy's favor
36:30 Michael Sloe - empathy may be related to intimacy
father of daughter collecting stamps
Can be used to do good things. the spotlight can be directed to motivate people to do good things.
Charities use this and it's used for social change.
Martha Nussbaum. theater, stories, tv, helps people engage with fictional characters and expand circle of concern
we empathize with bad characters. Tony Sopranos, etc.
40:20 - Empathy in Fiction is amoral. for every Uncle Toms Cabin is a Mein Kampf
Atrocities - people have empathy for their ingroup and that empathy is the cause of out-group lack of empathy
did studies, on Atrocities - the more empathic people are the more intense the reprisals
what makes a psychopath.. - empathy plays no role
source of evil is lack of self control
pure reason is not enough to do good, need a motivator. could be compassion not empathy
The argument is: putting yourself in other peoples shoes makes us worse people and we should stop it.
Q/A: We need to understand people?
Paul Bloom: Against empathy - rethinking
our common-sense beliefs about morality
2015-06-06 - Imagining the Lives of Others By PAUL BLOOM
What could be more exhilarating than experiencing the world through the perspective of another person? In “Remembrance of Things Past,” Marcel Proust’s narrator says that the only true voyage of discovery is not to visit other lands but “to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds.” This is one of the central projects of the humanities; it’s certainly part of the pleasure we get from art and literature
EMPATHY, IS IT ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE? Paul Bloom 3 - The Aspen Institute (youtube)
Hillary has a point: In defense of empathy and justice
By John C. Gibbs and Martin L. Hoffman
"Yale psychologist Paul Bloom objected that we can’t actually do that (at least
not as well as we think we can), especially when our neighbor is someone in a
quite different situation or condition—say, a stressed-out single parent, a
traumatically scarred war veteran, or an autistic child. Besides, declared
Bloom, even if we could fully and accurately feel and see from another’s
perspective, empathy is often too narrow and parochial to serve as a moral
guide. Far less limited, Bloom asserts, is reason: specifically, the impartial
principles and procedures of justice. We should “step back” from empathy and
“apply an objective and fair morality,” a “dispassionate analysis” of
distressing situations. Bloom has even declared that “empathy will have to yield
to reason if humanity is to survive.” "
In "Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil" (Crown), the developmental psychologist and Yale professor takes on the nature of morality and vast research spanning evolutionary biology to philosophy, drawing on everyone from Sigmund Freud to Louis C.K. By Leanne Italie
His conclusion? Babies have the capacity for empathy and compassion, possess a limited understanding of justice and have the ability to judge. Yet they navigate not along colour lines but as Us versus Them, usually landing squarely in the Us camp...
Bloom: I think we naturally have multiple moral systems, multiple responses. Some of our responses are created by disgust, some by empathy, some by a sense of justice, some by a sense of fairness, some by self-interest. We respond to kin, to our family members in different ways than we respond to strangers in all sorts of ways that don’t fall into any elegant philosophical theory. And I think this is true for babies, too.
Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil
Inquiring Minds: Paul Bloom - Babies and the Origins of Good and Evil
"On the show this week we talk to cognitive scientist Paul Bloom about the morality of babies. Most of us think of babies as selfish, impulsive, and for the most part out of control. We tend to think of their morality as shaped by experience—by society, by their parents, by early childhood events. But Bloom and his collaborators at Yale have some pretty compelling evidence that at least some parts of our moral compass are innate—that is that babies are born with the capacity to tell good from bad just as they are born with a capacity to develop motor or language skills."
Emotional contagion is empathy.
"If someone is suffering and your want to make it better, even if you don't know what it's like to be them, because you care about them, that emerges later. It's a more subtle story from a neurological standpoint and a developmental standpoint. I think empathy is innate and compassion is innate, but compassion shows so much more develop over a lifespan...
A few things to nurture is reason and rationality. Ask yourself, what is the effect of this? Is this fair? If our positions were reversed would I be in favor of the same policy?
The second one is compassion. The Buddhists have it right, some
attitude of loving kindness towards others. Not empathy, but valuing the fates
of others is essential to morality...
Other things like self control, which I think play a huge role in our moral life. The difference between a psychopath and a non psychopath turns out to have very little to do with empathy. Empathy scales don't predict bad behaviour very well at all. It has an enormous amount to do with self control. The scariest person to have walking next to you is not someone without empathy. That person could have autism, and have low empathy. People with low empathy don't harm people as a rule. There's no relationship with lack of empathy and aggression. The worst person to have next to you who has a lot of aggression and has no self control...
Compassion Over Empathy?
"According to Bloom, in order to help people in need, we need to leave empathy at the door and bring compassion instead."
The Psychology of Everything: What Compassion, Racism, and Sex tell
us about Human Nature
morality - children
7:00 toddlers want to help
helping people close to us
Moral instincts - narrow close to us
8:20 - response to strangers
In and Out group
People differ on disgust - relates to in-out groups
13:00 connection in our minds with visceral feelings. put people in a stinky room, and they will have more of a disgust feeling towards out groups.
We have a natural compassion but it's limited in how it extends to others.
We can expand our circle of compassion - how?
Robert Wright - meet more people
persuasion - think of others as our friends
the one versus the mass
focus on the individual. to raise compassion
17:00 - Moral Progress
Slavery - with Uncle Toms cabin - people identify with..
David Hume - sense of empathy and compassion is central to moral
Are We Hard-Wired for Greed or Empathy?
psychology has had a running debate on if we're borne Tabla Rose or have innate qualities
relates to Morality
moral judgments of right and wrong
moral feelings of empathy and compassion
Are babies moral?
Data says babies have empathy
pain distresses babies
will sooth - console
older children will try to help others