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What Happens When You Tell Your Story and I Tell Mine?

Empathy isn’t enough

Although similar, perspective-taking is not the same as empathy. Empathy falls short in trying to reduce polarization. In fact, empathy appeared to make things worse.

We tend to feel empathy more towards people like us, that we can relate to. If an outgroup attacks an ingroup, the empathic concern doesn't help.

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What Happens When You Tell Your Story and I Tell Mine?

What Happens When You Tell Your Story and I Tell Mine?

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/What_Happens_When_You_Tell_Your_Story_and_Tell_Mine

greatergood.berkeley.edu

5

Key Ideas

Perspective-taking

It involves being able to see the point of view of someone you usually consider to be part of an outgroup.

Research finds that being able to offer another point of view - especially if you're part of the outgroup - can be just as important to social change as perspective-taking.

Bridging differences

Both perspective-taking and perspective-giving are powerful tools to help negotiate differences, particularly between groups of different power dynamics.

Empathy isn’t enough

Although similar, perspective-taking is not the same as empathy. Empathy falls short in trying to reduce polarization. In fact, empathy appeared to make things worse.

We tend to feel empathy more towards people like us, that we can relate to. If an outgroup attacks an ingroup, the empathic concern doesn't help.

Empathic concern and perspective-taking

Empathic concern is an emotional form of empathy, which is based on our gut responses.

Perspective-taking is consciously and intellectually taking the viewpoint of our opponents, even if they have no emotional warmth towards us. The goal is to understand why they feel the way they do.

Perspectives across borders

Many conflicts take place across international borders. To see the situation from the point of view of adversaries, both perspective taking and perspective giving should be present.

Research suggests that perspective giving is more valuable for minority or marginalized groups, while perspective taking is more valuable for the majority or dominant groups.

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