USC study feels out empathy in students

Being empathetic is a crucial skill set for social workers because … we aren’t working with people who have had good lives. Kristen Zaleski

Team empathy

Given the importance of empathy in the social work context, Zaleski and a team of USC professors set out to answer the question: Can we engineer humans to have more empathy?

Zaleksi and Clinical Associate Professor Juan Araque led their first study on empathy by comparing the empathy levels of first- and second-year social work students. Other researchers included professors Michal Sela-Amit, Kimberly Finney, Bianca Harper and Jennifer Lewis. Approximately 300 students were measured using a scale that tested for both cognitive and affective empathy.