Empathy

How to overcome ‘compassion fatigue’

Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston in August 2017, forcing tens of thousands of people out of their homes and stranding others on roofs and porches. Millions watched the disaster unfold on their television screens, but one group sprang into action. The “Cajun Navy” — boat owners from Louisiana, many of whom had endured the ravages More

Caring about tomorrow

About 70 percent of Americans believe that the climate is changing, most acknowledge that this change reflects human activity, and more than two-thirds think it will harm future generations. Unless we dramatically alter our way of life, swaths of the planet will become hostile or uninhabitable later this century — spinning out ecological, epidemiological More

You 2.0: The Empathy Gym

What books are on your summer reading list? If you’re reading mostly nonfiction, consider the benefits of adding a novel to the mix. “There’s a fair amount of evidence now that the more fiction that people read, the more empathetic that they become,” says Stanford psychologist Jamil Zaki. “Because fiction is More

Empathy Is Too Much Work for Many of Us

Whatever your politics, few would take issue with President Barack Obama‘s eloquent endorsement of empathy. At the 2016 Democratic convention, he urged Americans “to see ourselves in each other,” and then to act accordingly. So why do we step around the homeless person without giving him a second thought? Or More

Life preserver ring floating in water

How Reflex Responses and Personality Play into the Bystander Effect

When asked about emergency situations, most people say they would spontaneously help another person. However, not everyone does so in real life, especially when there are other people around, a phenomenon known as the bystander effect. Traditional explanations for bystander apathy include three psychological factors: diffusion of responsibility, or the More