Fall/Winter 2005-06 (Volume II, Issue 2)
The Science and Practice of Empathy
Can we really feel someone else’s pain? Research and stories featured in this issue of Greater Good shed light on our deeply rooted ability to empathize with other people, enabling us to feel their emotions as our own. Authors explore the biological roots of empathy, explain ways to cultivate it, and consider how current social conditions inhibit the expression of empathy in the United States. The issue also features an interview with Robert Putnam, author of the book Bowling Alone, about what Hurricane Katrina revealed about Americans’ sense of community.
From The Editors
An Interview with Bowling Alone author Robert Putnam
We tend to think of empathy as a uniquely human trait. But it’s something apes and other animals demonstrate as well, says primatologist Frans de Waal. He shows how our evolutionary history suggests a deep-rooted propensity for feeling the emotions of others.
The Terms of Empathy (07)By | September 1, 2005
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting left behind. Why don’t more people stick up for fellow citizens facing hard times? Because, argues Arlie Hochschild, empathy is being squeezed from the American way of life.
Books, movies, and plays are more than just entertainment, says psychologist and novelist Keith Oatley. They train us in the art of being human. He explains how fictional works nurture empathy and enhance our social and emotional lives.
Acting on Empathy (11)By | September 1, 2005
When it comes to romantic relationships, empathy is essential, but it isn’t always easy, say family researchers Philip A. Cowan, Carolyn Pape Cowan, and Neera Mehta. They explain the obstacles couples face—and how to overcome them.
The Bully Problem (14)By | September 1, 2005
The results are in: Violence, insults, and intimidation among kids do more psychological harm than anyone anticipated. But can schools do anything about it?
Mother Nurture (17)By | September 1, 2005
Darlene Francis’s research challenges the way we think about how our genes and our environment interact. Her findings offer some surprises—and some hope.
A review of Happiness: Lessons From a New Science by Richard Layard and Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile by Daniel Nettle
Edited by P. Alex Linley and Stephen Joseph
Wiley, 2004, 770 pages
By Marc Ian Barasch
Rodale, 2005, 367 pages
By Alfie Kohn
Atria Books, 2005, 264 pages
Ideas for the Greater Good
What message are we sending kids when their classrooms are an “insult to aesthetics”?
Feeling forced to say “thanks” at Thanksgiving dinner? Here are four exercises to help get the gratefulness going.
"Thank you" doesn't just bring light to people's faces. It also lights up different parts of the brain.
The emphasis on testing can squeeze the feeling out of today’s classrooms. Here is one teacher’s journey to re-connect with herself and her students.
Greater Good Events
Take a Greater Good Quiz!
How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!» TAKE A QUIZ
Watch Greater Good Videos
Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.Watch
Greater Good Resources
- "Gratitude and Prosocial Behavior"
Finds that feeling gratitude produces kind and helpful behavior, even when that behavior is costly to the individual actor.
- "Compassion: An Evolutionary Analysis and Empirical Review"
Compassion evolved as a distinct affective experience whose function is to enable cooperation and protection of those who...
- "From Jerusalem to Jericho"
This article on bystander intervention in emergency situations suggests that we are likely to help a “shabbily dressed”...
- Jeffrey J. Froh’s Laboratory for Gratitude in Youth
Learn more about one of the leading researchers of gratitude.
- Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude
The GGSC’s new project which aims to expand the scientific database of gratitude and promote practices of gratitude in...
- The Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness
The Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness, co-directed by Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough, is a...
Book of the Week
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Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence