Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

Empathic Design
Empathy Circles

  Restorative Empathy Circles
Empathy Tent

Expert Interviews
Obama on Empathy


    Empathy Tests


Organizations and Academic Research Centers
Organizations studying and fostering empathy and compassion 

Other Directories

Autism Research Centre
Cambridge University, UK

"The mission of the ARC is to understand the biomedical causes of autism spectrum conditions, and develop new and validated methods for assessment and intervention. The ARC fosters collaboration between scientists in Cambridge University and outside, to accelerate this mission.

The ARC is situated within the School of Clinical Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry, at the University of Cambridge. It brings together scientists working on autism from around the University of Cambridge. It also has major collaborations with other universities, and works closely with clinical and voluntary sector services. The ARC has approximately 30 research scientists and support staff, drawn from a range of disciplines (cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry, paediatrics, neonatology, genetics, and biochemistry)."

Simon Baron-Cohen: Empathy and the Science of Evil
Professor of Developmental Psychopathology and Director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University.

Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE)
Stanford University, Stanford, CA

"The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) is striving to create a community of scholars and researchers, including neuroscientists, psychologists, educators and philosophical and contemplative thinkers around the study of compassion.

Drawing from such varied disciplines - from etiological approaches that examine the evolutionary roots of compassion to skills training programs for strengthening compassion to neuroscientific studies of the brain mechanisms that support compassion as well as the 'warm glow' feelings that reinforce helping others, CCARE is working to gain a deep understanding of compassion and its associated human behaviors in all its richness. .  "

James Doty: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy & Compassion
Stanford Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and founding director CCARE.

Emma Seppala: How to Build a Culture of Empathy & Compassion

Associate Director at CCARE at Stanford University.

Erika Rosenberg: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Education
Senior teacher for Project Compassion at CCARE

Leah Weiss Ekstrom: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Compassion with Education
Director of Compassion Education at Stanford's Center for CCARE.


Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution
Emory University, Georgia

"The primary mission of the Living Links Center is to study human evolution by investigating our close genetic, anatomical, cognitive, and behavioral similarities with great apes. The Living Links Center was established in 1997 for primate studies that shed light on human behavioral evolution. It is an integrated part of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, which is the nation's oldest and largest primate center. "

Frans de Waal talks with Edwin about the Nature of Empathy
Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution

Center for Investigating Healthy Minds
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI


Waisman Center -  Study healthy qualities of mind such as kindness, compassion, forgiveness and mindfulness. 

Center for Empathy and Compassion
 San Diego, California


 Established in 2012, the Center for Science and Education of Empathy and Compassion (SEEC) is a collaboration of scientists and lay members of the community who are committed to understanding the brain's role in and developing ways to increase empathy and compassion.

A scientific and lay community that understands the neural basis for empathy and compassion and uses newly developed insights and tools to create methods to enhance the ability of humans to practice these mental states.
William Mobley Co-Director

Charter for Compassion


"The Charter for Compassion is the result of Karen Armstrong's 2008 TED Prize wish and made possible by the generous support of the Fetzer Institute. It was unveiled to the world on November 12, 2009. The Charter of Compassion is a cooperative effort to restore not only compassionate thinking but, more importantly, compassionate action to the center of religious, moral and political life. Compassion is the principled determination to put ourselves in the shoes of the other, and lies at the heart of all religious and ethical systems"

Meg Lyons: How to Build a Culture of Empathy & Compassion with Charter for Compassion Pakistan
Executive Officer of the Charter for Compassion in Pakistan

Muna Awad: Building Empathy with Charter for Compassion - Jordan

Programs Director at the Charter for Compassion-Jordan.

Dalai Lama Center
Vancouver, BC, Canada


The Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education educates the heart and fosters compassion through creative learning, facilitating and applying research, and connecting people and ideas.

Empathy and Moral Psychology (EMP) Lab
Penn State University

 Welcome to the Empathy and Moral Psychology (EMP) Lab at Penn State University, directed by Daryl Cameron.  We study the affective and motivational mechanisms involved in empathy and moral decision-making.  Our lab utilizes insights and methodologies from affective science, social cognition, and moral philosophy.

Daryl Cameron, Ph.D. | Principal Investigator

Empathy and Relational Science Program
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

 "The mission of the Empathy and Relational Science Program is to enhance empathy and interpersonal relationships in healthcare. Empathy & Relational Science Program. We offer revolutionary, evidence-based empathy training that optimizes the patient experience to promote respectful, compassionate, and effective communication at all levels of healthcare. Our training and consultations are grounded in the neurobiology and physiology of human interaction and emotion and are informed by relational sciences."

Helen Riess: How to Build a Culture of Empathy in Health Care
Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Director of the Empathy and Relational Science Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Empathy and Social Connection Lab
University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Our research focuses on understanding this core human experience, examining how people share the emotions of others (i.e., empathy) and respond when others empathize with them (i.e., feeling understood).

Director: Sylvia Morelli


Empathy for Peace

Empathy for Peace operates on the premise that the practice of empathy is the foundation of fair, just and peaceful communities.

The goal of Empathy for Peace is to advance empathy awareness through empathy research and education with specific applications to evidence-based conflict resolution, peace and reconciliation processes.



Interdisciplinary Program on Empathy and Altruism Research (iPEAR)
University of Michigan

 'Our research focuses on extremes of empathy. Lower empathy: We have found that narcissism is rising and empathy is declining among American college students. Other work explores the cognitive an intrapersonal consequences of narcissism, and methods of reducing narcissism and egotistically-motivated aggression.  We also seek to understand the emotional processes associated with other empathy-relevant traits such as self-construal and alexithymia. ..'

Principal Investigator: Sara Konrath

Institute for Research on Unlimited Love

 "Unlimited Love means love for all humanity without exception. Participation in this love inspires inner peace, abiding kindness and service. People of "Unlimited Love" deeply affirm and serve all humanity without exception. Participation in this love is the pinnacle of spirituality, inspiring inner peace, abiding kindness and effective action in the world"

Mind and life Institute
Hadley, MA


"To establish mutually respectful working collaboration and research partnerships between modern science and Buddhism - two of the world's most fruitful traditions for understanding the nature of reality and promoting human well-being.

Mind with Heart

Mind with Heart is a charity dedicated to giving the space to young people and their educators to investigate and experience empathy, altruism and compassion. Mind with Heart is a UK-based charity founded in 2010 by a group of four educators. The network now includes over 30 members.

Join the network of educators
Professional educators internationally are invited to join the network.

Vinciane Rycroft: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Education 
Director and Co-Founder at Mind with Heart

Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions - Indiana University - Bloomington, IN

"Those questions and more are being explored by a workshop on empathy at IU Bloomington, co-sponsored by the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions and the Institute for Advanced Study. The workshop, which runs through the current academic year, brings together 15 scholars from a range of disciplines to discuss their work on empathy-related topics.

Seminar exploring the 'age of empathy:' Is it all talk

An interdisciplinary team of Indiana University researchers from the humanities, life sciences, information sciences, and social sciences has received a $199,617 grant from the University of Chicago to study the virtue of empathy.
- Search on Empathy

- Team

 PEACE: Program on Empathy Awareness and Compassion in Education
Penn State University, Pennsylvania

The PEACE area seeks to promote health and wellbeing in children, youth and families through the scientific understanding and promotion of awareness, compassion and empathy. The program includes faculty, research associates and students whose work focuses on developing a strong multidisciplinary science in this emerging area. PEACE supports interdisciplinary scholarly activities

Patricia (Tish) Jennings: How to Build a Culture of Empathy in Education
Co-Leader of the "Program on Empathy Awareness and Compassion in Education (PEACE)" at Penn State University.

Stanford Social Neuroscience Laboratory
Stanford University, Stanford, California

 Researchers at the Stanford Social Neuroscience Lab focus broadly on deconstructing social cognition and interaction. Although often delving into new territory, some of our main threads of research include:  Empathy, Social "Tuning" of Emotions, Prosocial Behavior, Social Influence.
Lab Director: Jamil-Zaki

 Start Empathy

 "Start Empathy, an initiative of Ashoka, is a community of individuals and institutions dedicated to building a future in which every child masters empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings and perspectives of others, and to use that understanding to guide one’s actions. It is critical both to individual human development and to our collective ability to solve problems and build a stronger society.

Start Empathy is not out to build a single program, curriculum, or silver-bullet fix. Rather, we're working to unleash demand for empathy as a core 21st century skill – collaborating with social entrepreneurs, educators, parents, and key players in the media, business, and academic sectors to make empathy as essential as reading and math in early education. Success will take all of us, and will require rethinking how we parent, educate, and raise our children in a world that is changing faster than ever before. " 

"Ashoka's Empathy Initiative:  'In this new world, empathy is one of the most important skills. Every individual needs the skill of empathy to succeed. 'we aim to create a world committed and equipped to ensuring that every child masters empathy.'  -  Start


 Empathy Lab UK


EmpathyLab is a small start-up, passionate about the creative power of words to build empathy, and the power of empathy to make the world a better place. Empathy skills are vital in helping children and young people tackle some big challenges, at home and globally.


 European Empathy Centers


Deutsch-Dänisches Institut für Familientherapie und Beratung
   Helle Jensen
Heinz Senoner - Direktor - Südtiroler Kinderdorf





Neuroscience Labs

Center for Culture, Brain, and Development

"The FPR-UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD) fosters training and research at UCLA to explore how culture and social relations inform brain development, how the brain organizes cultural and social development, and how development gives rise to a cultural brain."

Marco Iacoboni Lab: UCLA Brain Mapping Center: A Systems Neuroscience LabUCLA

"Our lab investigates human brain functions in health and disease using non invasive techniques. We use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to image brain structure and functions. We also stimulate the brain painlessly and modulate its activity with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). The lab comprises people with a wide range of backgrounds and with diverse expertise. This is reflected in the eclectic range of research projects performed in the lab and in collaboration with other, multidisciplinary labs. Research areas include:

  • Motor control in health and disease

  • Social cognition in health and disease

  • Neuromodulation

  • Interdisciplinary projects"

Marco Iacoboni: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy 
Lab Director

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Leipzig, Germany

"Research at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences revolves around human cognitive abilities and cerebral processes, with a focus on the neural basis of brain functions like language, emotions and human social behaviour, music and action. Our studies look into the perception, planning, and generation of these, and analyzes the interaction and common functional bases of their production and perception."

The A-Z Lab
University of Southern California 

"Our current research focuses on understanding properties of the mirror neuron system and shared representations as it relates to stroke and neurorehabilitation, contextual effects on empathy, embodied cognition, social communication, language, and visual creativity.
Principal Investigator - Dr. Lisa Aziz-Zadeh is an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, in the Brain and Creativity Institute, and in the Department of Occupational Science. She studies social cognition from a cognitive neuroscience perspective, using techniques including functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)."

Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience: Social Brain Lab - Keysers Group
University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands

The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN) carries out fundamental neuroscience research with special emphasis on the brain and the visual system. Our research focuses on development, plasticity and ageing and it is often linked to clinical research questions.

"Read more about our research in Christian Keysers's new book The Empathic Brain available at

Christian Keysers: How to Build Empathy with Science & Empathic Brain
Professor and group leader of the Social Brain Lab

MIT SaxLab - Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory 

"Externally observable components of human actions carry only a tiny fraction of the information that matters. Human observers are vastly more interested in perceiving or inferring the mental states - the beliefs, desires and intentions - that lie behind the observable shell. "
Emile Bruneau and Rebecca Saxe

Emile Bruneau: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Science
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT


Center for Mind and Brain (CMB)
University of California at Davis

"Founded in 2002, the CMB is a research and training unit dedicated to understanding the nature of the human mind from interdisciplinary perspectives."

Neuroscience at The University of Chicago  - Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory

"Research in neuroscience at The University of Chicago spans a diverse range of topics and techniques from molecules and cells to neural circuits and behavior. Our community of neuroscientists is composed of over 75 faculty members across more than seven academic and clinical departments.."
Peggy Mason - rat empathy study
Jean Decety - Department of Psychology - Lab

University of Reading, UK 

"Research in our group focuses on emotions, empathy, and autism. 
We use a range of techniques that include functional MRI, psychophysiology, psychophysics, and eye-gaze tracking to address our research questions. We are based at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics, within the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading.
Our group is part of the Berkshire Autism Research Network and the research cluster on Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience. We collaborate closely with the Cambridge Autism Research Centre, and several other groups within and outside the UK."

Bhismadev Chakrabarti: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Science
Heads a research group at Centre for Integrative Neuroscienc & Neurodynamics

Social Cognitive Neuroscience at Columbia University 

"The Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab is located in Columbia University's Department of Psychology(MAP), which is located in the Morningside Heights  Neighborhood of Manhattan’s Upper West Side  

Director Kevin Ochsner, Ph.D."




  • Center for Empathy in International Affairs
    ceia is the world’s first organisation to promote empathy in international policy-making and practice. Our mission is to promote understanding, awareness and the practice of empathy to inform international policy-making, reduce conflict and strengthen responses to human suffering.

  • Oxford Empathetic Care Program
    The Oxford Empathetic Care Program (OxCare) is an interdisciplinary research group that includes medical practitioners, philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists.