Christmas, the words “peace on earth and goodwill to all” are more significant than ever. But in order to put these words into action, psychologists suggest that a person must feel empathy toward strangers – a quality not everyone possesses. A new study, however, claims such a quality can be learned.
Study coauthor Grit Hein, a neuroscientist and psychologist from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and colleagues found that surprisingly positive experiences with a stranger trigger a learning signal in brain cells that can increase empathy – the ability to understand a person’s feelings or experiences from their perspective.
Positive experiences with strangers increased empathic brain responses