The Science of Empathy

What is Empathy?

The ability to understand and share the feelings of others, empathy allows us to see things from the other’s perspective rather than our own. It is a crucial skill that enables social and professional relationships, develop self-awareness, and contributes to an equitable and peaceful world. Empathy is needed to express compassion (the motivation to act upon other peoples’ suffering).

Why Empathy Matters

  • Empathy is crucial for mental and physical well-being; it is the root of caring and enables communication and healthy social and working relationships.
  • Empathy teaches children responsible decision-making and to consider family and friends, their community, and world. Empathic persons have more self-awareness and are more responsive to others, which can help protect us against substance abuse and other risky behavior.
  • Empathy contributes to social awareness and reduces bullying, prejudice and racism. It lays the foundation for just, peaceful and compassionate societies.
  • Empathy literally allows us to understand the state of mind of others and leads to more helping behavior – especially towards people outside of our own community.

Did You Know? Actively listening to others is essential to learning empathy.

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“Empathy is an essential part of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).”

Made possible with the generous support of France.