We can learn to empathize with strangers. Surprisingly positive experiences with people from another group trigger a learning effect in the brain, which increases empathy. As researchers from the University of Zurich reveal, only a handful of positive learning experiences already suffice for a person to be-come more empathic.
Conflicts between people from different nationalities and cultures often stem from a lack of empathy or compassion for ‘the stranger’. More empathy for members of other groups could thus encourage peaceful coexistence.
A study conducted by the University of Zurich examined whether empathy with strangers can be learned and how positive experiences with others influence empathic brain responses.