The Psychology behind Learning Empathy

Empathy
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There are some emotions which are necessary for the survival of the human race. And one such emotion is that of empathy. In the simplest terms, empathy can be defined as the ability or capacity of an individual to feel and understand what any other person might be feeling within a specific frame of reference. Empathy comprises of a broad range of social emotions and it can also be defined as the ability of an individual to place himself or herself in somebody else’s shoes. These are also some of the reasons why children are taught about what is empathy from an early age. There are different types and levels of empathy. And in this academic writing piece, readers will be able to learn about all these topics. Readers will also be able to learn about what is empathy in detail and neural basis of empathy. All these points of discussions are mentioned below.

An Introduction to Empathy and its Types

Empathy can be defined as the ability of an individual to feel or understand what some other individual might be feeling or going through. This is one of the most important emotions which are necessary for the survival of the human race or species. If one wishes to understand what is empathy then that individual should also be aware of the different elements of empathy. And some of the major elements of empathy are mentioned below.

The Capacity to Understand other People
This is the most important element of empathy as it consists of actually being conscious of what some other individual might be feeling. This element requires an individual to be sensitive to what the other person might be feeling and to also take an active interest in trying to help the other individual.

Development of Others
This element refers to the fact that one should also help some other individual to reach his or her full potential. An individual must be able to act on the needs and requirements of other individuals around him or her.

Service Orientation Approach
This component of Empathy encompasses the ability of an individual to put somebody else’s need before him or her. This type of approach is often used in work situations in which the motto is that the customers always come first.

Diversity Leverage
This section is more about celebrating everybody’s uniqueness and brings together the factors of that uniqueness to create opportunities and help somebody new.

Political Awareness
The word ‘political’ is often associated with negative emotions or manipulations. However, this is not true as the word ‘political’ actually means to the power relationships and emotional undercurrents of a group. This factor can enable an individual to dodge negative relationships and emotions.

Above mentioned information gives you enough ideas about segments of empathy, And before proceeding to the next section in this academic writing piece, it is important to discuss those types of empathy. Corresponding to above data, in the next section three different types of empathy is listed.

Cognitive Empathy
It refers to the ability of an individual to understand what an individual might be thinking and feeling. This type of empathy is very vital for an individual to possess if he or she wishes to be an effective communicator.

Emotional Empathy

Also known as affective empathy and it can be defined as the potential of an individual to share his or her feelings with some other individual. Practicing this kind of empathy allows an individual to develop emotional connections with other people.

Compassionate Empathy
Considered as empathic concern and this element goes beyond the task of understanding how one might feel or think as in this type of empathy an individual tries to do something to help the other individual.

In the next section of this academic writing piece, readers will be able to learn about the levels of empathy.

The Levels of Empathy

There are five different levels of empathy which an individual can learn if he or she is planning to be a counselor. And those five different levels of empathy are mentioned below.

Level 1
This utmost level of empathy only shows little to negligible awareness of the emotions acquired by someone.

Level 2
Moderately low level of awareness is shown at this level of empathy.

Level 3
At this level, an individual is able to recognize the emotions of the other individual and tries to respond to it accurately.

Level 4
Preceding to above level here an individual is highly aware of the emotion of other people and tries to respond to those emotions accurately.

Level 5
At last, the individual is able to understand the feelings of others with a broader depth and breadth.

These are the different levels of empathy which an individual can learn to a certain extent. However, given below section encompasses information about the neural basis of empathy.

The Neural Basis of Empathy

There are many academic writing pieces which are written on this topic. However, most of those academic writing pieces, fail to take into account several bodily facts. And in this section of this academic writing piece, readers will also be able to learn about important bodily facts related to the neural system. There have been many types of research done on the topics of empathy and neuroscience. And while the brain is a very complex organ and it can be quite difficult to say anything with 100% certainty when it comes to the brain but there are still many experts who agree on a number of major points related to the brain and empathy. And some of those major points are mentioned below.

The Mirror Neural System
According to experts, there are some specialized cells in the brain which are responsible for compassion and empathy. These cells allow an individual to mirror the emotions of other individuals present around him or her. These mirror neurons are also triggered by events happening outside of the body.

Emotional Contagion
This is an important finding in the field of neuroscience as it shows that many people pick up on emotions easily while there might be certain people for whom this skill might not come that easily.

The Increased Sensitivity to Dopamine
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which is responsible for pleasure response. And according to different studies, it has been found that empathic individuals are more sensitive to the dopamine levels within his or her body.

These facts clearly show that while the potential for empathy might be present from birth but it is something which can be taught or learned throughout the life of an individual.

The Conclusion:

Empathy can be defined as the ability of an individual to understand and feel what somebody else might be feeling. This is an important emotion for the survival of the human race. And there are three different types of empathy including cognitive, emotional, and compassionate empathy. Empathy and brain are very interesting subjects. This is why a lot of studies have been conducted on this topic. The majority of the studies on the topic of the neural basis of empathy show that empathy can indeed be learned or taught.