research proposal

In the earlier semester of the class, we talked about the role of empathy in the courtroom and under the rule of law. In order to become a judicious spectator in the trial, empathy is an essential judicial attribute when we put ourselves into “certain context of others” to deal with the lawsuits. As for the law-making and changing systems, the ability to take the perspectives of others improves deficient protections and prohibition in different conditions. Furthermore, lawyers should develop empathic communication skills that will facilitate initial rapport between them and their clients. And also in the courtroom, jurors’ accurate understanding of others’ situation and empathy without limitation are necessary to provide justice under the rule of law. The correlation between empathy and law, or between empathy and law prosecutors, such as lawyers, law-makers and jurors, is inseparable. For the sake of creating a humane and equal society, empathy should take place as a foundation of law.



Dubber, Markus D. The Sense of Justice: Empathy in Law and Punishment, New York University Press, New York, 2006.

Massaro, Toni M. “Empathy, Legal Storytelling, and the Rule of Law: New Words, Old Wounds?” Michigan Law Review, vol. 87, no. 8, 1989., pp. 2099-2127.

Little, Laura E. “NEGOTIATING THE TANGLE OF LAW AND EMOTION the Passions of Law. Edited by Susan A. Bandes.” Cornell Law Review, vol. 86, 2001., pp. 974-1386.

Barkai, John L., and Virginia O. Fine. “Empathy Training for Lawyers and Law Students.”Southwestern University Law Review, vol. 13, no. 3, 1983., pp. 505.

Massaro, Toni M. “Empathy, Legal Storytelling, and the Rule of Law: New Words, Old Wounds?” Michigan Law Review, vol. 87, no. 8, 1989., pp. 2099-2127.


Clinical Empathy as Emotional Labor in the Patient-Physician Relationship

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPHXin Yao, PhC

In the article about doctor-patient relationship, the author mainly discussed the mechanisms involved in empathy, “the value of learning about emotional labor and acting methods in creating an empathic treatment relationship” and the possible future development of clinical empathy. In the first part “Clinical Empathy and Its Consequences”, the author talked about the current situation of clinical empathy and stated that empathy affected the therapeutic process affectively. In the second part “Empathic Processes”, the author divided the Empathic Processes into three parts: Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Outcomes, Antecedents and Feedback Loops and Patient and Physician Outcomes and discussed them separately. He also used the theorem from “Davis and colleagues” to prove that “a physician’s communication skills and social style have a direct impact on patient satisfaction and health outcomes”. In the third part, the author introduced us about the “Emotional Labor and Acting Methods”, which is, one may use his or her empathy to make the business or the outcome of the work better, and actually it works in most cases. The author discussed that physicians sometimes also use the same method to make their patient’s outcome better. Moreover, the author argued that there are “surface empathy” and “deep empathy” and “Physicians may try to take the patient’s role while applying communication skills that have been found to be effective in soothing patients and generating positive treatment results. While engaging in both, each acting method can change the dynamics of the situation”. At last, the author stated the point that the empathy “is not an attribute limited to those who perform direct day-to-day care, such as nurses; it also includes, and in many ways more importantly, those who diagnose and treat”. The author supports that a close relationship between doctor and patient is good and we should develop this relationship deeper in the future.

From my perspective, this article could help my paper in “the definition of clinical empathy” and answering “why should we develop clinical empathy” as well as “what does clinical empathy works”.


Empathy Is a Protective Factor of Burnout in Physicians: New Neuro-Phenomenological Hypotheses Regarding Empathy and Sympathy in Care Relationship

Bérangère ThiriouxFrançois Birault, and Nematollah Jaafari

In this passage, the author mainly discussed that “empathy can protect physicians from burnout and can make them do their work better. What I am interested in is one of the author’s point: There is an obvious phenomenological distinction between empathy and sympathy. In his part “Neuro-phenomenology of empathy and sympathy”: empathy happened when doctor actually “feel with: the patient and think in patient’s way while sympathy can only illustrate that the author “knows” what his/her patient feels but could not feel the patient’s feeling, which sometimes made a doctor hard to fully understand his/her patient and cannot make the best decision for the patient or even lead to a physician’s burnout. The author discussed the distinction between sympathy and empathy in both psychological way and medical way. The author also discussed the “Neurophysiology working” of empathy and sympathy, which could be used in my article to distinct the “clinical empathy” and “clinical sympathy” and analyze which one is better and what should we develop more in the future.


What is Clinical Empathy?

Jodi Halpern, MD, PhD

The passage “What is Clinical Empathy” mainly introduced the clinical empathy by discussing the difference of “detached concern” and “empathy”, “specify ways that emotion contribute to empathy” and “whether empathy is practical in therapeutic process”. In the part discussing the difference between “detached concern” and “empathy”, the author gave an interesting point: “When doctor asks a patient about his or her condition directly, patient will usually feel “angry, uncomfortable and disrespected” though this might be the most efficient way to cure the patient”. The author also gave us two examples about how patients dislike to be asked about their conditions directly and why showing empathy to patients first might be a good choice. In the second part “specify ways that emotion contribute to empathy”, the author mainly discussed how empathy works, especially in clinical situation. The author also state that constructing an empathic relation between doctors and patients can produce “trust” and “disclosure” from patients and promote the doctor’s efficiency and preciseness. In this part, the author also provided four ways “that physicians can capitalize on their emotional responses to enhance medical care”, and this whole part will act as an important part to my essay in discussing “how” we should develop clinical empathy as well as “why” should we keep empathy in doctor-patient relationship.


Walking a fine line: is it possible to remain an empathic physician and have a hardened heart?

Bruce W. Newton

In this essay, the author mainly discussed the differentiation of clinical empathy revealed and performed in different gender and how does empathy work in male doctors and female doctors. This is a long essay and the author discussed this topic by several parts. Putting aside the gender differentiation of empathy between different genders. I am interested in the chapters: “Why is physician empathy important”, “What is empathy” and “Should physicians have a hardened empathic heart”. In the chapter “Why is physician empathy important”, the author stated the point that “empathic communication skills promote patient satisfaction, establishes trust, reduces anxiety, increases adherence to treatment regimens, improves health outcomes, as well as decreasing the likelihood of malpractice suits”, which could be used in my essay stating the reason why empathy is important in a doctor-patient relationship. In the part “What is empathy”, the author gave us one of the definition of empathy and the role that empathy usually acts in clinical situation. The author cited Eisenberg’s point as an example, which could also be used in my passage in defining empathy. For me, the most important part of this essay is the chapter “Should physicians have a hardened empathic heart”. This chapter mainly discussed that whether physicians should show their empathy towards patients while fully control themselves and make the most logical decision and not be affected by their emotion of empathy. The answer in the passage is “Yes” and the author suggest that doctors should “pretend” to be empathic, this will be a point that I disagree with but the point “physician should not be controlled by their empathy” is what I agree I and I will also mention the point in my paper.


A systematic review of the associations between empathy measures and patient outcomes in cancer care

Sophie Lelorain, Anne Brédart, Sylvie Dolbeault, Serge Sultan

This is a research report of “whether empathy affects the clinical progress? If yes, is it positive or negative”? In the report, the author’s group used multiple databases as well as contrast method to do the experiment. They chose lots of students and patients to do this experiment and the result was mainly based on the patients’ satisfaction and the result of the therapeutic outcome. The result is clear and obvious: Although “future research should apply different empathy assessment approaches simultaneously, including a perspective-taking task on patients’ expectations and needs at precise moments”, “clinicians’ empathy has beneficial effects according to patient perceptions”. Moreover, the writer, through the result of the experiment, suggested that “This review suggests that clinician’s empathy is associated with higher patient satisfaction, better psychosocial adjustment, lesser psychological distress and need for information, particularly in studies with patient-reported measures and retrospective designs”, which can be refined as “Empathy is very important in clinical situation because it is directly related to the patient’s satisfaction, the effect, and the outcome of the therapeutic process. I would like to use the result and part of the process of this experiment in my paper when discussing “why should we develop clinical empathy” and mention “how empathy will help us”.


How to Optimize Physicians’ Communication Skills in Cancer Care: Results of a Randomized Study Assessing the Usefulness of Posttraining Consolidation Workshops

Darius Razavi, Isabelle Merckaert, Serge Marchal, Yves Libert, Sandrine Conradt, Jacques Boniver, Anne-Marie Etienne, Ovide Fontaine, Pascal Janne, Jean Klastersky, Christine Reynaert, Pierre Scalliet, Jean-Louis Slachmuylder, Nicole Delvaux

This is another research report. It mainly answered a question: “How should we train medical students’ empathy”. The authors chose some random physicians and asked them to attend a program that would train their empathy as well as the ability to communicate with people. After five-month training, sixty-three physicians completed the program and their “Communication skills improved significantly more in the consolidation-workshop group compared with the waiting-list group” and “Patients interacting with physicians who benefited from consolidation workshops reported higher scores concerning their physicians’ understanding of their disease”. The research showed us a successful way to train physicians’ empathy and I might use them in my chapter of “The future development of clinical empathy”.


Why Doctors Should Be More Empathetic–But Not Too Much More (unscholarly)

Omar Sultan Haque, Adam Waytz

This is an article from SSA, and it mainly answered two questions: Does physicians nowadays lack of empathy on the patients? If so, do they hold-up their empathy while it appears or they do not come up with any empathy for them in the first place? The answer of the article is clear: physicians do lack of empathy nowadays and they actually do not feel empathetic for the patients in the first place. The author provided two experiments by Jean Decety and colleagues of the University of Chicago to prove his point. The author summarized the as this: “Whether during a surgery, biopsy, physical exam, or even a simple blood draw, healthcare professionals routinely must inflict pain on others to make them better in the long run”, so physicians might feel tired of empathy with people and thus their empathy were wore down day-by-day. Apart from these two questions, the author also stated that “when empathy is detrimental, it should not be the goal of physicians, then, to be more empathetic. They should aim instead to find the right balance, the golden mean that optimizes care”. I would like use this passage’s main idea: “whether physicians are lack of empathy now and what the reason it happens” to my discussion of “the relationship of doctors and patients”.


Should We Train Doctors for Empathy? (unscholarly)

Jill Suttie

The passage “Should we train doctor for empathy” mainly discussed three popular topic: Why do doctors need empathy, How to build empathy in medicine and how training empathy could solve some burnout and stress of physicians. The author started her essay by giving an example of herself: she prefer doctors who can show empathy for her and she changed her doctor because his lack of empathy. In the chapter “why do doctors need empathy”, the author used the viewpoints and the researches from Darrell Kirch, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Darrell Kirch suggested that “Every patient wants their doctor to be academically prepared—to know the medicine that they need to know” and it is obvious that doctors need empathy because empathy is “a tool that can help us see how students might interact with real people in real situations”. In the chapter “how to build empathy in medicine”, the author suggested that the time that students started to feel less empathic with patients is at their third-year time especially “when they start to see patients—suggesting that the erosion of empathy may be more about what’s happening during training rather than the capabilities students possess upon admission”. The author also suggested that one of the reason doctors don’t apply empathy is that, “doctors who don’t feel concern for their patients, he argues, are at an increased, not decreased, risk of job dissatisfaction and burnout” and “when he try to detach themselves emotionally from their patients, the quality of their work suffers”. According to the author, the way to construct empathy in clinic is that, every doctor should face their emotion and should not afraid of it. One of the person that the author mentioned, Decety, believes that “doctors must learn to accept their own empathic feelings toward patients, yet not confuse their feelings with those of their patients, so that they can respond in the best way possible”. I would like to use these two parts in my paper because they both revealed the relationship between doctors and patients at present, which is the case that doctors sometimes lack of empathy towards patients, and the solution for this problem mentioned in the passage may also be helpful for me.


Work Cited

Larson, Eric B., and Xin Yao. “Clinical Empathy as Emotional Labor in the Patient-Physician Relationship.” JAMA, vol. 293, no. 9, 2005., pp. 1100-1106doi:10.1001/jama.293.9.1100.

Thirioux, B., F. Birault, and N. Jaafari. “Empathy is a Protective Factor of Burnout in Physicians: New Neuro-Phenomenological Hypotheses regarding Empathy and Sympathy in Care Relationship.” FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 7, 2016., pp. 763doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00763.

Halpern, Jodi. “What is Clinical Empathy?” Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 18, no. 8, 2003., pp. 670-674doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2003.21017.x.

Newton, BW. “Walking a Fine Line: Is it Possible to Remain an Empathic Physician and have a Hardened Heart?” FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE, vol. 7, 2013., pp. 233doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00233.

Lelorain, Sophie, et al. “A Systematic Review of the Associations between Empathy Measures and Patient Outcomes in Cancer Care.” Psycho‐Oncology, vol. 21, no. 12, 2012., pp. 1255-1264doi:10.1002/pon.2115.

Razavi, Darius, et al. “How to Optimize Physicians’ Communication Skills in Cancer Care: Results of a Randomized Study Assessing the Usefulness of Posttraining Consolidation Workshops.” Journal of Clinical Oncology, vol. 21, no. 16, 2003., pp. 3141-3149doi:10.1200/JCO.2003.08.031.

Why Doctors Should Be More Empathetic–But Not Too Much More

Should We Train Doctors for Empathy?

Compare and prevent bullies from school to workplace

Bullying happens everywhere and is closely related to the lack of empathy. Without understanding how others feel, bullying, no matter in school and workplace may threat people’s health mentally and physically. For cases of school bullying, many have been heated debate in China with more and more bullying happening and spread on social media, which invokes parents’ concern about the reason behind bullying. What caused the lack of empathy? What are the bullies seeking to achieve behind their actions? For cases of workplace bullying, the most common example happens due to racial and gender discrimintation. While I have heard of others’ who are yellow skinned or females being unfairly treated due to racial and gender discrimination, and bullied at in workplace, I hope to find the reasons for the loss of empathy for adulthood. Based on those two circumstances listed above, I hope to compare the reasons for empathy loss in school settings and workplace. In this way, my question will be what are the reasons for the lack of empathy concerning bullies from school to workplace and how we can prevent it.

Potential scholarly sources:

Allemand, Mathias, Andrea E. Steiger, and Helmut A. Fend. “Empathy Development in Adolescence Predicts Social Competencies in Adulthood.” Journal of Personality, vol. 83, no. 2, 2015., pp. 229-241doi:10.1111/jopy.12098.

Greimel, E., et al. “Development of Neural Correlates of Empathy from Childhood to Early Adulthood: An fMRI Study in Boys and Adult Men.” JOURNAL OF NEURAL TRANSMISSION, vol. 117, no. 6, 2010., pp. 781-791doi:10.1007/s00702-010-0404-9.

Bailey, PE, JD Henry, and W. Von Hippel. “Empathy and Social Functioning in Late Adulthood.” AGING & MENTAL HEALTH, vol. 12, no. 4, 2008., pp. 499-503doi:10.1080/13607860802224243.

Sahin, M. “An Investigation into the Efficiency of Empathy Training Program on Preventing Bullying in Primary Schools.” CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES REVIEW, vol. 34, no. 7, 2012., pp. 1325-1330doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.03.013.

Gagnon, Chantal M. Bullying in Schools: The Role of Empathy, Temperament, and Emotion Regulation, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2012.

Garcia-Ayala, A., et al. “The Role of Psychological Detachment and Empathy in the Relationship between Target and Perpetrator in Workplace Bullying Situations.” REVISTA DE PSICOLOGIA SOCIAL, vol. 29, no. 2, 2014., pp. 213-234doi:10.1080/02134748.2014.918824.

Research Proposal

People from different countries are soaked in different cultural atmospheres, we are born to be taught by our parents in different ways. Therefore, as we gather together today in this world valley and exchange ideas every day, we do notice that we may have different value and standard toward some issues.

The analysis of how empathy plays its role in different aspects of people’s lives in my blog sequence shows that different scenarios provide people different standard for decision making, and different levels of understanding enables people to make decisions accordingly as well. So from a globalized view I’d like to take some insight in how culture as an unique feature that people from different countries possess will mediate their own expressions of empathy. The specific question I would like to ask is “Would people who share different cultural and moral background express empathy differently?” I’ll focus my research on both sides of this topic, which is if so, how exactly would background differences affect people’s empathy; and if not, are there any papers support this point.

Possible Scholarly Sources:

  • Park, J., et al. “Empathy, Culture and Self-Humanising: Empathising Reduces the Attribution of Greater Humanness to the Self More in Japan than Australia.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 51, no. 4, 2016., pp. 301-306doi:10.1002/ijop.12164.Link
  • Luo, SY, et al. “Interaction between Oxytocin Receptor Polymorphism and Interdependent Culture Values on Human Empathy.” SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE, vol. 10, no. 9, 2015., pp. 1273-1281doi:10.1093/scan/nsv019.Link
  • Chung, Rita C., and Fred Bemak. “The Relationship of Culture and Empathy in Cross‐Cultural Counseling.” Journal of Counseling & Development, vol. 80, no. 2, 2002., pp. 154-159doi:10.1002/j.1556-6678.2002.tb00178.x.Link
  • Ditto, Peter H., and Spassena P. Koleva. “Moral Empathy Gaps and the American Culture War.” Emotion Review, vol. 3, no. 3, 2011., pp. 331-332doi:10.1177/1754073911402393.Link
  • Lorié, Áine, et al. “Culture and Nonverbal Expressions of Empathy in Clinical Settings: A Systematic Review.” Patient Education and Counseling, 2016.doi:10.1016/j.pec.2016.09.018.Link
  • Aaker, Jennifer L., and Patti Williams. “Empathy Versus Pride: The Influence of Emotional Appeals Across Cultures.” Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 25, no. 3, 1998., pp. 241-261doi:10.1086/209537.Link
  • Hollan, D. “The Definition and Morality of Empathy.” EMOTION REVIEW, vol. 4, no. 1, 2012., pp. 83-83doi:10.1177/1754073911421396.Link

Research proposal

The topic I am about to talk in my research is about empathy and bullying. The research focuses on a certain group of people: bullies in schools. Bullying is commonly seen in school students. Bullies are often teenagers or preadolescents, and the victims are often weaker than the bullies. Do bullies have empathy for their victims? If not, do they bully others because of their lack of empathy? I think this is an important problem because in order to help eliminate bullying in school, we need to study the source of it. The topic of the class is empathy, and we have studied the cause of cruelty in social media, which is kind of similar to bullying. The reason of online cruelty is the absence of empathy. This makes me wonder if real life bullying is also caused by the absence of empathy. We also learn from Martin Hoffman’s “Empathy, Justice, and the Law” that the development of empathy can be divided into several stages. Do bullying behaviors occur in preadolescents caused by anomalies in their empathy development? The study of empathy in preadolescents is different from the study of empathy in adults, so I am going to study specifically on the empathy in preadolescent bullies.

Since I am studying empathy and bullying, the critical problem is going to be: How does empathy influence bullies? To answer this question, we need to firstly clarify the definition of empathy in this question. There are two kinds of empathy, cognitive empathy and affective empathy. I will have to analyze the effect of both types of empathy on bully. Because I am researching on preadolescents, I will have to specify my research sources on preadolescents. I need to study the empathy development of preadolescents and the possible anomalies during the development.

Potential scholarly sources:

Stavrinides, P., S. Georgiou, and V. Theofanous. “Bullying and Empathy: A Short-Term Longitudinal Investigation.” EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 30, no. 7, 2010., pp. 793-802doi:10.1080/01443410.2010.506004.

van Noorden, T. H., , J., Haselager, G. J., T., Cillessen, A. H., N., & Bukowski, W. M. (2015). “Empathy and involvement in bullying in children and adolescents: A systematic review”. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(3), 637-657. doi:

Björkqvist, Kaj, Karin Österman, and Ari Kaukiainen. “Social Intelligence − Empathy = Aggression?” Aggression and Violent Behavior, vol. 5, no. 2, 2000., pp. 191-200 doi:10.1016/S1359-1789(98)00029-9.

Kokkinos, Constantinos M., and Eirini Kipritsi. “The Relationship between Bullying, Victimization, Trait Emotional Intelligence, Self-Efficacy and Empathy among Preadolescents.” Social Psychology of Education: An International Journal, vol. 15, no. 1, 2012., pp. 41-58doi:

Muñoz, Luna,C., Pamela Qualter, and Gemma Padgett. “Empathy and Bullying: Exploring the Influence of Callous-Unemotional Traits.” Child psychiatry and human development, vol. 42, no. 2, 2011., pp. 183-96 doi:

Jack Mulligan Research Proposal

Empathy is a topic encompassing a wide array of debate. There are many questions as to the role that empathy and this leads to the constant drive for people to find trends with empathy. I am going to identify one of these trends. I am going to look at trends in empathy at two levels of income. One aspect will be looking at how empathy differs among socio-economic classes in specified locations (countries). In addition to this, I will look at how different countries classified by wealth compare in overall sense of empathy. The combination of these two points of research will help make advance in answering the question “How does empathy differ across socio-economic groups”


Works Cited

Fischer, Agnenta H. Gender and Emotion: Social Psychological Perspectives (Studies in Emotion and Social Interaction. Cambridge University Press. 2000

Dunn, Lee. Wallace, Michelle. “Australian academics teaching in Singapore: striving for cultural empathy.” Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Volume 41, Issue 3, 2004

Haigh, Maritn. “Fostering Cross-Cultural Empathy With Non-Western Curricular Structures.” Journal of Studies in International Education. Volume 13, Issue 2, 2009, 271-284

Duhon, David L. Black, H Tyrone. “Assessing the Impact of Business Study Abroad Programs on Cultural Awareness and Personal Development.” Journal of Education for Business. Volume 81, Issue 3, 2006

Dyche, Lawrence. Zayas, Luis H. “Cross-Cultural Empathy and Training the Contemporary Psychotherapist” Clinical Social Work Journal Volume 29, Issue 3, 2009,245-258

research proposal

Psychopath is closely related with criminal behavior and violence nowadays. The seminal 2012 FBI report states that 15-20 percent of the two million prisoners in the U.S., which are 90 percent male, are psychopaths. Many researches have been done to analysis the behavior of psychopath and the most commonly believed reason for them to commit crime so easily is that they lack the ability to empathize with others. In other words, they fail to understand and share the feelings of others, so they are not inhibited by guilt, fear, anxiety or remorse. However, there are also many researches indicating that psychopath, to some degree, is capable of empathizing with others, or at least ‘knowing’ what others feel. I find this argument very interesting and very closely related to our class discussion because it explores the nature and pro-social attribute of empathy.

The critical question in this topic is ‘Do psychopath lack empathy, or it just be hidden inside?’. Answering this question is important, since if there’s enough evidence that psychopath does have empathy and it just be hidden inside intentionally or unintentionally, we may be able to help them with cultivating empathy such that the criminal rate can be largely reduced.


Scholarly sources:

Pain & Central Nervous System Week, ‘A Neurological Basis for the Lack of Empathy in Psychopaths’, NewsRX LLC, 2013.


Meffert. H, et al.  “reduced Spontaneous but Relatively Normal Deliberate Vicarious Representations in Psychopathy.” Brain: a journal of neurology, vol. 136, no. Pt 8, 2013.


Newman, Joseph P., et al. “Attention Moderates the Fearlessness of Psychopathic Offenders.” Biological Psychiatry, vol. 67, no. 1, 2010.


Lishner, David A., et al. “Evaluating the Relation between Psychopathy and Affective Empathy: Two Preliminary Studies.” International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, vol. 56, no. 8, 2012.


Cleckley, Hervey M. The Mask of Sanity: An Attempt to Clarify some Issues about the so-Called Psychopathic Personality, Mosby, St. Louis, 1955.


Proposing Research On Empathy and Schizophrenia

A person’s capability to empathize fully depends on one’s mental ability to understand, relate and identify with another’s feelings and actions. The lack of understanding and social isolation are common characteristics of people with mental disorders, which leaves them with a significantly limited ability to empathize. One of the most acute mental disorder’s known to humanity is a schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is characterized by abnormal social behavior, social isolation, breakdown between thought, emotion and behavior leading to inappropriate emotional responses and inappropriate comprehension of actions and feelings. Thus, patients with schizophrenia demonstrate deficits in emotional processing and perspective taking, which is vital for empathizing. All of this leads me to the question: what is the reason behind the limited empathy in people with schizophrenia and in what extent do those diagnosed with schizophrenia experience empathy?

•Russel Crowe as John Nash in the Movie “A Beautiful Mind”

• Russell Crowe as John Nash in the Movie “A Beautiful Mind”

From my perspective, answering this question will be extremely challenging and thus interesting for a few reasons. First of all, as a huge fan of John Nash, one of the best economist who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, I regard schizophrenia as one of the most interesting medical conditions. Therefore, exploring the reasons behind the lack of empathy that are caused by a mental disorder that physically limits one’s ability to empathize will be extremely interesting and fascinating. Secondly, understanding the reason behind the lack of empathy and the extent of how those diagnosed with schizophrenia experience it will help us to shed light on the possible reasons and explanations behind social isolation that people with such mental disorders are characterized by. Finally, understanding the reasons behind limited empathy among individuals affected by schizophrenia will help us to better understand probable medical reasons behind lack of empathy in healthy individuals.

Recently, in class, we discussed the limitations of empathy and reasons behind the lack of it. However, most of the reasons we discussed were focusing on a person’s background, barrier-overcoming profile, views and other non-innate factors. My topic will be relevant to and interesting for our course as it will provide a rather different view on the limitations of empathy. I expect most of the sources to focus on more medical and scientific explanations of lack of empathy among individuals with schizophrenia. Moreover, understanding medical explanations on the lack of empathy, will further help us understand scientific reasons why we do actually feel empathy and what promotes our ability to empathize. One of the scholarly sources that I will use to get insight into the topic is an article by H. Haker and W. Rossler “Empathy in Schizophrenia: Impaired Resonance,” which describes differences in empathetic resonance in individuals with schizophrenia and healthy ones. All of this will help us to shed the light on the both the reasons behind empathy and the reasons behind lack of it.

Potential Sources:

  • Haker, H., and W. Rossler. “Empathy in Schizophrenia: Impaired Resonance.” European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, vol. 259, no. 6, 2009., pp. 352-361.
  • Bonfils, Kelsey A., et al. “Affective Empathy in Schizophrenia: A Meta-Analysis.” Schizophrenia research, vol. 175, no. 1-3, 2016., pp. 109-117.
  • Derntl, Birgit, et al. “Generalized Deficit in all Core Components of Empathy in Schizophrenia.” Schizophrenia Research, vol. 108, no. 1, 2009., pp. 197-206.
  • Didehbani, N., et al. “Insight and Empathy in Schizophrenia.” Schizophrenia Research, vol. 142, no. 1-3, 2012., pp. 246-247.
  • Shamay-Tsoory, Simone G., et al. “Neurocognitive Basis of Impaired Empathy in Schizophrenia.” Neuropsychology, vol. 21, no. 4, 2007., pp. 431-438.
  • McCormick, LM, et al. “Mirror Neuron Function, Psychosis, and Empathy in Schizophrenia.” Psychiatry Research-Neuroimaging, vol. 201, no. 3, 2012., pp. 233-239
  • Derntl, Birgit, et al. “Neural Correlates of the Core Facets of Empathy in Schizophrenia.” Schizophrenia Research, vol. 136, no. 1-3, 2012., pp. 70-81.
  • Russell Crowe as John Nash in the Movie “A Beautiful Mind”

Research Proposal

In this class, we have basically reached a consensus on empathy: How it works? Does it necessarily a beneficial thing for us? What type of empathy, pseudo-empathy or other-oriented empathy, could lead to the real understanding and benign environment both on internet and on reality? However, there is one aspect of empathy that seems to be rarely touched throughout the class: the development of empathy from people’s childhood and adulthood. The third blog post of formal assignment 2 gives me a hint. After reading Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman”, it is clear that only virtual that drives Jean Louis to ease her tense relationship with Atticus and struggle to identify with the town that she grows up is the real empathy. More than that, the kind of other-oriented empathy, is not innate with her. She does not possess that virtue, not until her conversation with her Uncle Jack and intensely reflect both on her experience both in her childhood and in New York. Hence, other-oriented empathy, though might not be an innate ability of all of us, I believe that the other-oriented empathy is the special ability that can be trained and is the symbol of maturity.


Under this circumstance, I decide to conduct research to understand how empathy develop in people from their childhood to adulthood? To narrow it down, from the works that I did on the formal2 I know that other-oriented empathy is the real empathy that would be more beneficial to our real life. Therefore, the central question might be how does the other-oriented empathy develops in specific stages of childhood. In order to response to that critical question, I have to, first and foremost, understand how empathy works in different stage of childhood: infanthood and adolescence. By comparing the difference of empathy at two stages of childhood, it would be clear that how the empathy is shaped while a person is approaching to maturity. More than that, it is also of importance to identify the factors that would boost or jeopardize the development of the other-oriented empathy. I would like to link the research proposal with the hot issue: the empathy in digital age. In my perspective, with the unprecedented boom of internet and social media, teenagers’ capability of truly empathizing with other’s with other-oriented empathy is highly compromised. Besides, there is a really interesting point: decades ago, 90 percent of Media Market in United States was controlled by 90 companies.  However, toady, just 6. Finally, I want to discuss whether the overtly development of empathy is a good thing. According to Morton, the ability of empathy with the conductor of atrocious acts takes tons of imagination and experience, which might cause intense emotional distress. When viewed from another angel, does that kind of emotional distress originated from the imagination and experience necessarily a beneficial factor for teenagers’ mental development? According to Smith’s “The “Cost of Caring” in Youths’ Friendships: Considering Associations Among Social Perspective-Taking, Co-Rumination, and Empathetic Distress”, she found that people who are emotionally intelligent are most likely to feel overwhelmed in their effort to care for a friend. Thus, the excessively development of empathy in teenage is “too much of a good thing”.

Potential Reference:

Smith, RL, and AJ Rose. “The “Cost of Caring” in Youths’ Friendships: Considering Associations among Social Perspective Taking, Co-Rumination, and Empathetic Distress.” DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 47, no. 6, 2011., pp. 1792-1803doi:10.1037/a0025309.

Pasalich, DS, MR Dadds, and DJ Hawes. “Cognitive and Affective Empathy in Children with Conduct Problems: Additive and Interactive Effects of Callous-Unemotional Traits and Autism Spectrum Disorders Symptoms.” PSYCHIATRY RESEARCH, vol. 219, no. 3, 2014., pp. 625-630doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.06.025.

Terry, Christopher, and Jeff Cain. “The Emerging Issue of Digital Empathy.” American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, vol. 80, no. 4, 2016., pp. 1.

Terry, Christopher, and Jeff Cain. “The Emerging Issue of Digital Empathy.” American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, vol. 80, no. 4, 2016., pp. 1.

O’Keeffe, GS, K. Clarke-Pearson, and Council Commun & Media. “Clinical Report-the Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families.” PEDIATRICS, vol. 127, no. 4, 2011., pp. 800-804doi:10.1542/peds.2011-0054.

Research Proposal

My topic will be related to the empathy in the relationship between doctors and patient. People, especially people in the medical field, have spent years discussing whether doctors ought to be empathetic with patients and if they should, to what extent they should show their empathy to patients so that empathy will make the therapeutic process more successful? In my passage, I would like to discuss these questions: Do doctors need to show empathetic to their patients? Do doctor nowadays lack of this kind of empathy? How does empathy help doctors and patients in the therapeutic process? I will do some researches on these questions and make my answers in the paper.

Work Cited

  • Lelorain, Sophie, et al. “A Systematic Review of the Associations between Empathy Measures and Patient Outcomes in Cancer Care.” Psycho‐Oncology, vol. 21, no. 12, 2012., pp. 1255-1264doi:10.1002/pon.2115.
  • DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2003.08.031 “How to Optimize Physicians’ Communication Skills in Cancer Care: Results of a Randomized Study Assessing the Usefulness of Posttraining Consolidation Workshops” Journal of Clinical Oncology 21, no. 16 (August 2003) 3141-3149.
  • Karbelnig, Alan M. “The Sanctuary of Empathy and the Invitation of Engagement: Psychic Retreat, Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist,” and the Psychoanalytic Process.” Psychoanalytic review, vol. 101, no. 6, 2014., pp. 895-924doi:10.1521/prev.2014.101.6.895.
  • DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2003.03.070 “Taking time”’Journal of Clinical Oncology 21, no. 17 (September 2003) 3366-3367.
  • Komisar, Jonathan, and Daniel C. McFarland. “Is Empathy Associated with a Self-Ascribed Sense of Meaning among Resident Physicians Working with Patients Nearing the End of Life on a Hematology-Oncology Ward?: Is Empathy Associated with a Self-Ascribed Sense of Meaning.” Psycho-Oncology, 2016.doi:10.1002/pon.4282.
  • Thirioux, B., F. Birault, and N. Jaafari. “Empathy is a Protective Factor of Burnout in Physicians: New Neuro-Phenomenological Hypotheses regarding Empathy and Sympathy in Care Relationship.” FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 7, 2016., pp. 763doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00763.
  • Newton, BW. “Walking a Fine Line: Is it Possible to Remain an Empathic Physician and have a Hardened Heart?” FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE, vol. 7, 2013., pp. 233doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00233.