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.

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