Stanford Social Innovation Review:
“One death is a tragedy; 1 million is a statistic,” Joseph Stalin is supposed to have said. The more people we see suffering, the less we care. It’s an unfortunate quirk that psychologists so far have blamed on our brains: Humans are tuned to individuals, the thinking goes; we are just not capable of feeling compassion for whole groups.
A new study calls that comfortable conclusion into question. “The collapse of compassion is an active process,” says Daryl Cameron, a doctoral candidate in social psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “It’s not some passive limitation on human experience. It’s the end result of an active choice not to feel something.”
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