Compassion vs. empathy: Designing for resilience

“Compassion v. Empathy: Designing for Resilience” for Interactions Magazine. (October 2014) explores how compassion is physiologically different to empathy, how it leads to altruism, and how we might design for resillience. 

Dorian Peters, Rafael Calvo
How is it that some people can spend their days making progress on the front lines of sickness or injustice while others can barely handle watching the nightly news? Empathy is critical to our relationships, our societies, and our individual well-being, but it can also hinder these, leading to avoidance, burnout, and distress. A better understanding of just what makes this difference would radically empower design. Design for resilient empathy would benefit everyone, but most obviously it would benefit care workers at risk of burnout, nonprofits seeking to empower action, and designers of social technologies. Can we design to foster…