Can a person learn to empathize with strangers?

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

 by Honor Whiteman