More educators are recognizing that compassion can be taught. But I don’t think it’s enough to have children just learn about compassion, because we need to embody our ethical beliefs by acting on them. This begins with empathy.
There are three main kinds of empathy, each involving distinct sets of brain circuits.
1: Cognitive empathy: understanding how other people see the world and how they think about it. This lets us put what we have to say in ways the other person will best comprehend.
2. Emotional empathy: a brain-to-brain linkage that gives us an instant inner sense of how the other person feels – sensing their emotions from moment to moment. This allows “chemistry” in our connections with people.
Those two are very important of course; they’re key to getting along with other people, but they’re not necessarily sufficient for caring.
3. Empathic concern – ….
by Daniel Goleman