Sara Konrath on Empathy and Altruism

Twitter:  @SaraKonrath

Dr. Sara Konrath is Assistant Professor at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, and affiliated with the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan. Sara is the Principal Investigator of Interdisciplinary Program on Empathy and Altruism Research - or the iPear program - a research lab with a primary focus on the costs and benefits of empathy and related traits (e.g. emotional intelligence, narcissism) and behaviors (e.g. helping, giving). They examine the causes, consequences, and changes in such topics from a variety of perspectives, including pshycho-physiological and neurological. 

At iPear, they examine the underlying biological processes associated with empathy and prosocial behavior, including cardiovascular, endocrine, and neural underpinnings. 

In this interview, Dr. Konrath discusses her research on empathy and narcissism, and specifically how empathy corresponds with philanthropy and selfless giving. It is a fascinating look at our personal motivations for giving, and how to inspire more giving and a higher level of empathy amongst different groups. 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SHOW:

In this interview, we discuss:

  1. What is empathy and the research of iPear Lab.  (2:30)
  2. How narcissism is increasing in many parts of our culture.  (13:00)
  3. Ways to increase empathy, especially through charitable giving.  (18:00)
  4. How we form connections in this society, and the importance of more connections. (23:00)
  5. Important resources and recommendations on the study and practice of empathy.  (29:00)

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

"The ability to empathize is like a muscle capable of growth, atrophy, disability and even regeneration." 

LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE SHOW:

  1. About iPear Research. 
  2. Center for Building a Culture of Empathy.
  3. The Empathy Gap Blog on Psychology Today. 
  4. The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose by Christian Smith. 
  5. Empathy: Why It Matters and How To Get It by Roman Krznaric. 

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