The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

Empathy Development Cont'd from the Vocab "Tone-Deaf" Thread Options
Posted: Friday, February 3, 2017 4:12:57 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/23/2015
Posts: 8,480
Neurons: 48,535
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
I was going to post this in the "tone-deaf" thread but realized that was in the Vocabulary sub forum and this is really psychology, my interest. So after recent discussions about posting in the correct sub forum, I decided to answer Parser's question in a new thread rather than digress a lot there. Of course, we are not discussing the meaning of tone-deaf as it applies to music, but rather with that of being out-of-touch with others.

He wanted to know if humans can learn to not be tone-deaf. That depends. If they are able cognitively and emotionally to recognize the emotions of others and the consequences of their actions on others, they may learn how to better put themselves into the shoes of others.

Newborns as young as a 18-72 hours experience distress when exposed to another infant crying. Children except for psychopaths do indeed learn empathy as they grow. There are two components - cognitive and emotional. Psychopaths often can see cognitively the distress of others, and because they don't feel it, use the knowledge against others. People on the autism spectrum often have trouble because they can't recognize the feelings of others from their facial expressions.

As children grow to become adults, internalize the feelings and experiences of others, they sometimes may become cynical and may lose some of that empathy and become more "tone-deaf".

And if their other interests supersede their empathy development, such as the CEO who not only climbs over others to get to the top but ruthlessly steps on them, their empathy may be stunted. Or they have only developed cognitively and may not have developed the emotional ability to feel the pain of others as in narcissism. And may as in another Vocabulary thread become a "jerk" or other term (depending upon where you live).

But if parents show warmth towards their children and teach and allow them to experience their emotions instead of stifling them as was the practice years ago, are a good model themselves, and teach them how others may react to their actions (consequences), they develop better empathy towards others. Parents have to teach their kids how to learn right from wrong and teaching about empathy is one of the ways.

I remember doing some psychological studies about attachment of children to different types of
parents, and that affected their empathy for others for both good and bad depending upon the type of attachment to the primary caregiver. And I cannot claim ownership of the other ideas either - they come from my studies in Psychology.

Humans are designed to be social to survive, so if one wants meaningful relationships, one learns empathy, unless one can't because one is emotionally or cognitively limited. However, there is often a difference in the amount of empathy developed because of more factors than the ones I mentioned.

If anyone has any other thoughts about "empathy" please jump in.

"Do the people you care about love you back?" Warren Buffett's measure of success
Posted: Saturday, February 4, 2017 4:55:38 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,494
Neurons: 27,779
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
I wish it were true, that we as parents and mentors could make a decisive difference. Alas, the evidence is otherwise. Persons are born with a particular 'slant', and that is how it is. Yet there is hope that we as parents and mentors could identify the 'slant' and thus offer counsel to those who are willing to hear it, and even to those who require more firm persuasion. ;^)

"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Users browsing this topic

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2008-2019 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.