Teens Lack Empathy?

We’ve been wondering for years why teens seem to be so self-centered and at times so insensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others. This is true of both teen boys and girls. Just consider all of the dreadful bullying that goes on during the teen years. Interestingly, just today I had a mother of a teen come to my office to ask why her teen is so self-centered. Well, a new study may provide us with some answers A recent study by Jolie van der Graff and colleagues published in the journal Developmental Psychology tracked “cognitive empathy” of teens over time.


The findings of this study are fascinating and may explain quite a bit about the behavior of teens.The study findings included: Beginning at age 13 teen girls show an increasing ability to engage in “cognitive empathy” which is defined as the ability to understand another individual’s perspective or point of view. 

Barbara Greenberg