The Living Force
I agree. Psychopaths and individuals with an acquired defect like Stalin are special cases. Normal people who have a capacity for empathy can at least develop skills that help them to be more empathetic. If anyone is interested in a modern perspective on this there are a number of articles on SoTT that illustrate this concept including:Odyssey said:I would say that some people are born with the capacity of empathy and some are not (psychopaths). If one is born with the capacity, I think it can be cultivated and grown as a person becomes less selfish and self-centered (through WORK) and better able to put oneself in another person's shoes.PerfectCircle said:I would also say that empathy is something you have or don't have (psychopath ?) and you cannot learn it. I may be wrong, but my experiences so far have convinced me that it is true.
andhttps://www.sott.net/article/328010-Transforming-lives-by-nurturing-the-growth-of-empathy said:Transforming lives by nurturing the growth of empathy
by Roman Krznaric
Fri, 09 Sep 2016 00:00 UTC
Are We Living in the Age of Empathy?
If you think you're hearing the word "empathy" everywhere, you're right. It's now on the lips of scientists and business leaders, education experts and political activists. But there is a vital question that few people ask: How can I expand my own empathic potential? Empathy is not just a way to extend the boundaries of your moral universe. According to new research, it's a habit we can cultivate to improve the quality of our own lives.
But what is empathy? It's the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions. That makes it different from kindness or pity. And don't confuse it with the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." As George Bernard Shaw pointed out, "do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you—they might have different tastes." Empathy is about discovering those tastes.
The big buzz about empathy stems from a revolutionary shift in the science of how we understand human nature. The old view that we are essentially self-interested creatures is being nudged firmly to one side by evidence that we are also homo empathicus, wired for empathy, social cooperation, and mutual aid.
Read more... there are links to more articles at the bottom of the page
also:https://www.sott.net/article/309093-Empathy-with-strangers-can-be-learned said:Empathy with strangers can be learned
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 00:00 UTC
We can learn to empathize with strangers. Surprisingly positive experiences with people from another group trigger a learning effect in the brain, which increases empathy. As researchers from the University of Zurich reveal, only a handful of positive learning experiences already suffice for a person to be-come more empathic.
Conflicts between people from different nationalities and cultures often stem from a lack of empathy or compassion for 'the stranger'. More empathy for members of other groups could thus encourage peaceful coexistence. A study conducted by the University of Zurich examined whether empathy with strangers can be learned and how positive experiences with others influence empathic brain responses.
Surprising behavior influences learning
Psychologist and neuroscientist Grit Hein teamed up with Philippe Tobler, Jan Engelmann and Marius Vollberg to measure brain activation in participants who had had positive experiences with a member of their own group (in-group member) or another group (out-group member). During the test, the participants expected to re-ceive painful shocks to the backs of their hands. However, they also discovered that a member of their own or another group could pay money to spare them pain. The brain activation while observing pain in a person from one's own or another group was recorded before and after these experiences.
At the beginning of the study, the stranger's pain triggered a weaker brain activation in the participant than if a member of his or her own group was affected. However, only a handful of positive experiences with someone from the stranger's group led to a significant increase in empathic brain responses if pain was inflicted on a different person from the out-group. The stronger the positive experience with the stranger was, the greater was the increase in neuronal empathy.
The increased empathic brain response for the out-group is driven by a neuronal learning signal that develops through surprisingly positive experiences with a stranger. "These results reveal that positive experiences with a stranger are transferred to other members of this group and increase the empathy for them," says Hein.
Hein, G., Engelmann, J.B., Vollberg, M., & Tobler, P.N. "How learning shapes the empathic brain." Proceedings of the National Academy of the United States of America, December 2015, DOI.
Source: University of Zurich
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