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The Science of Empathy

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  • The Science of Empathy

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...68010214002314

    This is extremely fascinating and full of insights, I recommend reading this.

  • #2
    Semi-related story: When I was an undergrad, I presented at a student conference on Beowulf. After the four of us students gave our presentations, a literature professor in the audience who studied emotion in literary texts raised his hand during questioning to ask about the use of anachronistic terms before the labels for them existed (which was completely unrelated to anything any of us had been talking about). He was just like "I'm going to make this student conference about me".

    So I was like, "yeah, I disagree, but I think I see what you're arguing--it sounds like you think we shouldn't use anachronisms at all, so, for example, that we can't talk about gravity before 1687, and we shouldn't study emotion in texts published before we had a modern psychological understanding of emotions".

    And he got so mad at me and super embarrassed and that's the end of that story.


    Hayley Margules, historian and Onyx Path writer
    Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras and Companion, Beast: The Primordial Ready-Made Characters, and Dark Ages: Tome of Secrets

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    • #3
      Originally posted by hm8453a View Post
      And he got so mad at me and super embarrassed and that's the end of that story.
      As someone who spent far too many years dealing with stuffy professors and wishing I could take them all down a few pegs, I salute you.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by hm8453a View Post
        Semi-related story: When I was an undergrad, I presented at a student conference on Beowulf. After the four of us students gave our presentations, a literature professor in the audience who studied emotion in literary texts raised his hand during questioning to ask about the use of anachronistic terms before the labels for them existed (which was completely unrelated to anything any of us had been talking about). He was just like "I'm going to make this student conference about me".

        So I was like, "yeah, I disagree, but I think I see what you're arguing--it sounds like you think we shouldn't use anachronisms at all, so, for example, that we can't talk about gravity before 1687, and we shouldn't study emotion in texts published before we had a modern psychological understanding of emotions".

        And he got so mad at me and super embarrassed and that's the end of that story.
        Seems like you made a valid point, he had no reason to be embarrassed.

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        • #5
          One particular part of what I linked to that I found really surprising how empathy can lead to less moral decisions, it's counter intuitive.

          For example you empathize highly with your best friend or a family member, so if you end up in a, situation where lives are at stake and you have choose between some one who empathize with vs 3 other people who you don't, you are more likely to save the person you empathize with instead of saving 3 other lives. Saving the 3 lives instead of the 1 is the more moral choice.

          Another interesting thing is how empathy appears to be at least in part your brain effectly running a simulation of what another person is experiencing.

          So if you see someone being hurt, you feel pain on some level, like roughly the same areas in your brain fire.

          I also found the different types of empathy interesting, and the whole Theory of Mind vs. Empathy, I plan on looking up more details on that.

          Another thing I liked is learning out to get people to empathize with someone who they normally wouldn't because they are, part of an group they not inclined to empathize with.

          And very relavant to another thread, Psychopaths are capable of Empathy, but it takes conscious effort, it doesn't happen automatically.

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          • #6
            Honestly I'm surprised more people don't find this compelling and interesting and of value.

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