More and more, we live in bubbles. Most of us are surrounded by people who look like us, vote like us, earn like us, spend money like us, have educations like us and worship like us.
The result is an empathy deficit, and it’s at the root of many of our biggest problems. It’s because of how homogeneous people’s social circles have become, and also because humans naturally hold biases. But researchers have discovered that far from being an immutable trait, empathy can be developed.
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So what is empathy? It’s understanding how others feel and being compassionate toward them. It happens when two parts of the brain work together, neuroscientists say — the emotional center perceives the feelings of others and the cognitive center tries to understand why they feel that way and how...
We’re all biased. Acknowledging that is the first step. The second step is taking action to overcome it.
Bias is a natural part of the human condition. This is adaptive for us to take mental shortcuts and make conclusions about the people around us. Actively working to combat that is what m...
One of the most important ways to confront bias and privilege in your life is to hear from others about their everyday lives, and consider how they’re different from yours.
It can be as simple as having lunch with a colleague and asking about their routines, she said. Maybe you’ll learn tha...
Working on a project with other people reinforces everyone’s individual expertise and humanity, and minimizes the differences that can divide people.
The flip side of bias is privilege. Bias puts certain groups of people at a disadvantage in our society, while privilege puts other groups at an advantage.
Your privileges are things that give you special status that you didn’t earn and don’t necessarily realize you benefit from. One examp...
Ask children what they think characters in books or during imaginative play are feeling, based on their facial expressions or what’s happening to them in the story.
Don’t instruct your kid to say sorry. Instead, ask questions like: “How do you think he’s feeling? What could you do to help h...
Reading is one of the best ways to open your mind to the experiences of others.
Reading literary fiction requires people to enter characters’ lives and minds – and by doing so, it increases people’s capacity to understand other people’s thoughts and feelings, researchers at the New School
Many parents, especially those who are white, try to avoid talking about race, gender identity, income level or other differences among people, believing that if they expose their children to diversity without making a big deal about it, their children will grow up without prejudice.
Researchers say children are aware of stereotypes by age 3. Counter them by encouraging children to do a wide variety of activities and spend time with a range of friends. Model the same in your own life — starting with sharing the chores at home.
Teach them what to do if they experience d...
Use your body language to show that you’re open to listening: uncross your arms, lean slightly forward, and make eye contact.
Pay close attention to the speaker’s facial expressions and body language, which can convey more emotions than their words.
Don’t just stand in someone else’s shoes, as the saying goes, but take a walk in them.
Attend someone else’s church, mosque, synagogue or other house of worship for a few weeks while they attend yours, or visit a village in a developing country and volunteer. Spend time in a new neighborhoo...
Empathy should drive us to act compassionately toward others. The next step, after acknowledging your privileges, is to put them to use on behalf of groups who don’t have them.
Donate money to causes that help people in need or attend a rally in support of them.
Speak up when someone...
If you’re uncomfortable with the topic of conversation, or if someone has told you that you said something that was offensive, the first step is to listen. Some common errors, experts say, are:
Live life, Laugh hard, Love selflessly, Serve God.
This should be taught in school.
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Although AI researchers can train systems to win at Space Invaders, it couldn’t play games like Montezuma Revenge where rewards could only be collected after completing a series of actions (for example, climb down ladder, get down rope, get down another ladder, jump over skull and climb up a ...
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