I have always depended on the kindness of strangers – Blanche DuBois, A Streetcar Named Desire
Definition of Empathy and Altruism
Empathy derives from the German word Einfühlung, meaning to feel the suffering and troubles of another from within (Clarke, 2014). The empathic concern that enlivens us to action and to alleviate the perils, poverty or punishments borne by another. Humans devoid of empathy are bereft of compassion and immune to the needs and welfare of another.
The renowned researcher Stephen Post defined altruism as “Unselfish delight in the wellbeing of others and engagement in acts of care on their behalf”. I would add that authentic altruistic expression demands the wellbeing of another as paramount, often to the detriment…show more content… They enlisted the participation of university students who were placed in individual rooms, wearing headphone and alternatively told that one, two, three or six people were involved in the discussion. Unbeknownst to the students, the voices were pre-recorded. Before the experiment began they were told that one of the contributors was predisposed to seizures. As the experiment ensued they each heard a voice expressing that they were in the onset of a seizure, expressed by increasingly distorted speech patterns. When this conversation was one to one, 85% of participants summoned help, whilst those believing others were present only 31% went for help in that instance. (Eysenck,…show more content… Daniel Batson (1989) and his associates found out that regardless of anticipated mood enhancement, high-empathy subjects helped more than low-empathy subjects. In other words, high-empathy subjects would still helped more either under easy escape conditions or even when they could probably get good mood to relieve from negative state without helping. Therefore, they concluded that, obviously, something other than relieving negative state was motivating the helping behavior of the high-empathy subjects in their studies. It contradicted with the theory proposed by Robert Cialdini (1987) which supported that empathy-altruism hypothesis was actually the product of an entirely egoistic desire for personal mood