Chances are that we encounter acts of empathy more often than we realize. Empathy is what motivates us to let the car idle a little longer while a mother struggles across the street with her kids or to buy a homeless man a hot breakfast. Empathy is embodied by the advice nurse who stays on the line extra long to offer both medical and personal advice, or by the hotelier who gifts a bottle of champagne because he remembers what it was like to be a newlywed….
Results across seven studies showed that people who thought about empathy as a skill that can be improved—rather than as a fixed trait—made more effort to be empathetic. The seventh study, in particular, suggested that having an active interest in being empathic helps. In other words, if you want to feel more empathy, you can.
by SUZANNE BARNECUT