What Does Science Say About Empathy?

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An artist locked in a room, allowing strangers to harm him physically – yet doing that from afar.

What is this strange experiment and what lessons can we draw from it?


In truth, there are plenty of studies on empathy: it’s not a mysterious concept no-one ever dared to research.

And that research is pretty fascinating!

I’ve already talked about the role empathy plays on shame (spoiler alert: shame can’t live where empathy is), what constitutes an empathetic response, and the importance of using the language of empathy and self-compassion.

In the piece I’m presenting to you here, more fascinating research is revealed.

It’s on the role of in-groups and out-groups in empathy and how that role can be changed; it’s on the power of fiction, and much more!

NPR’s Hidden Brain is one mind-blowing (or should I make a terrible joke and say brain-blowing? Yep, I’m keeping it:) show that I’ve discovered some years ago and have never found an episode that wouldn’t be engaging.

I remember listening to it on my way to work cold and dark London mornings, contrasting that dark exterior world with the heart-warming storytelling and a colourful wave of curiosity that would roll over me as I’d listen to it.

If it’s a cold London morning or not (for me, those mornings got replaced by sunnier mornings in Jordan since then), please enjoy.

You can find the episode below and at this link.

Don’t miss a post!



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