This video on Ted.com presents the evolution of empathy and the profound ways it has shaped human development and society.
How can we increase empathy in the next generation? The lack of empathy demonstrated at an increasing rate by each generation is disturbing and reason to worry, so what can be done to counter this? Roots of Empathy is a program that hosts infants in grade school classrooms to help children identify and reflect on their own lives and feelings; click here to learn more.
While many people hold negative perceptions of rats, owners of pet rats are usually eager to describe the positive attributes of their pet, including their playfulness and affection. Science is now backing up their claims. Study results have found that a rat will work very hard at freeing another rat that is trapped, learning how to unlock a clear container; when the container is empty or holds something like a stuff animal, the rat is not likely to bother. Rats who also had a container containing chocolate would unlock that, but their were apt to set some chocolate aside to share with their fellow rat.
“Research has shown that emotions can be contagious, you can potentially “catch” fear, anger, or joy from people without realizing it. Dr. Orloff explains how to strategically bolster positive emotions so you don’t shoulder negativity that doesn’t belong to you.” ~ Dr. Judith Orloff Are you an emotional empath?
A more non-scholarly explanation of a thread of neuroscience research, some from the University of Washington. It will be interesting to see where they go with this over the next several years.
“…while almost all humans use mirror neurons, empaths are finely tuned to theirs. Empaths seem to display inexplicable powers of sense. They sometimes know that people in distant places are in trouble, or that something is going to happen before it does. This has resonances in the animal world, wh…”