Are engineering students less empathetic than students in the caring professions? Yes, the findings from a study performed at Linköping University indicate that this is the case. The study comprises more than 200 students from six different study programs and was carried out by Chato Rasoal, a researcher in psychology, together with two colleagues.
The researchers measured empathy with a well-established questionnaire that shows, for example, the degree of imagination, the ability to assume the perspective of others, and whether the subject cares about others, along with the subject´s own worries and anxiety.
“Empathy can have both a cognitive and an emotional aspect,” explains Chato Rasoal. The capacity to see things from the point of view of others is primarily cognitive, while caring about others is a more emotional component.
Rasoal, C., Danielsson, H. and Jungert, T. Empathy among students in engineering programmes, European Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 37, Iss. 5, 2012, DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2012.708720