Found on Facebook: Empathy

Yet there is a different interpretation of young people’s levels of empathy, one that takes into account their far greater tolerance today for lifestyles and values not their own.

Larry D. Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, who specializes in the effects of technology, worked on a recent study in the journal Computers in Human Behavior that measured the impact of spending time online on real-world empathy.

Dr. Rosen’s team found that being on the Internet “does not displace face-to-face time nor reduce real-world empathy” and that “virtual empathy was positively correlated with real-world empathy.”

Empathy, their study suggests, can be dispensed and felt virtually, though in-person empathy — a hug, for instance, as opposed to a Facebook “like” — has six times the impact on feelings of social support. 

Teddy Wayne