REPORT
Feb 25, 2016
How can technology encourage empathy?

Studies show that our ability to empathise has greatly diminished over the last 30 years. It’s due in part to the uptake of smartphones and social media – we’re all too busy thinking about ourselves. But while it might be part of the problem, could technology also be used to make us more empathetic?

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Do you ever imagine things from the perspective of your friends? Ever feel all your feelings for someone less fortunate than yourself? A study of 14,000 US college students found that in 2010, far fewer participants related to these sentiments than 30 years prior. "We found the biggest drop in empathy after the year 2000," says Sara Konrath, a researcher at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, who headed up the study. "College kids today are about 40% lower in empathy than 20 or 30 years ago.” [1] They’re not even denying it – 59% of Gen Y describing their generation as ‘self-absorbed’. [2]

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