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Empathy Essays

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The idea of care has been the fundamental topic throughout the course, specifically self care and empathy. Self-care is the practice of taking care of one’s emotional, mental, and physical health. Meanwhile, empathy is the ability to care for other individuals by understanding one’s feelings and being able to walk ...

in another’s shoes. Although, the idea of care may seem straightforward, people’s opinions may ultimately vary which leads to interesting discussions and intriguing questions.

Self care isn’t necessarily distinct due to the fact that this practice is essentially different for everyone. In other words, self-care is not a one size fit all. For example, self care for an individual can include going to the gym while for another it may include relaxing and watching a movie. One activity can work for another and yet can be triggering to others. The fact that self care isn’t direct mirrors the idea of empathy. The ongoing debate regarding empathy includes whether to employ empathy on certain situations or if having too much or not enough empathy is beneficial or dangerous. It is difficult to measure the amount of empathy one may be expressed in terms of those with intellectual disability. This may be due to the fact that not everyone has been exposed to the disabled or at least hardly been exposed which in turn makes it challenging. This includes compassion towards those with disabilities and those who may not be disabled.

There has been dispute whether empathy is a trait or a kill. The article written by David Orenstein, “Human Empathy as a Primary Source for Peace and Justice,” discusses how empathy is an innate knowledge meaning that it is ingrained in everyone’s human consciousness. Research has shown that even babies are capable of having the ability to distinguish between the kind and harsh actions. This leads to the debate concerning the fact that since we’re born with empathy, are there different levels of empathy in terms of those who with intellectual difficulties can the intellectually gifted also experience compassionate towards the intellectually impaired or is there exemptions?

The downside of empathy can be expressed through the article “The Dark Side of Empathy.” written by Paul Bloom. When we witness someone get harmed, we naturally experience the urge for revenge. Adam Smith once said, “We are rejoiced to see him attack his adversary in his turn, and eager and ready to assist him.” We as individuals are so compassionate towards victims to the point where we feel satisfaction when we witness their desire for vengeance. Having said that, this ties back to the previous article which discusses how we are inevitably born with empathy. Is the defect in empathy also embedded in our human consciousness or is this a negative skill that anyone can just easily learn?

Having a sense of self-identification is a key aspect in shaping an individual’s character and a way to navigate through life. However, this is not the case for those born with intellectual disabilities. Statistics have shown that every one in five persons has a disability in the United States (Miller 2013). They may experience limitations that hinder their everyday social skills which can include their intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior.

The question regarding whether those who are born with intellectual disabilities can experience compassion towards others and vice versa is still prominent and ongoing. There have been various relevant research regarding this debate.

One research measured the empathy abilities of those who are born with an intellectual disability with sexual offending to men with intellectual disability but without an offending. Another research determines whether men with intellectual disability who had a known sexual offending had different levels of specific victim empathy towards their own victim compared to those with non offenders. This research was concluded by having men with intellectual disability to complete a measure of general empathy and specific victim empathy. Participants who had no sexual crime completed the measure hypothetically, while men with a history of sexual offending completed the measure based on their own most recent victim. The results show that non-offenders scored significantly higher in terms of the measure of general empathy than sex offenders. Men with a history of a sexual act had significantly lower victim empathy for their own victim compared to non-offenders. Although, men with intellectual disabilities and offenders have different psychological constructs than non offenders, there is still relevant evidence that validates the fact that offenders do not have difficulty with empathy. Because a high percentage of the sample was rated as high risk, resulted in a high level of deviancy, in other words, offenders with a high deviance may have difficulties with general empathy (Hockley and Langdon 2015).

Questions remain whether it is possible for the intellect to empathise with those born with disabilities. There is a lack of empathy towards those with disabilities due to the fact that the relationship between the disabled and those who support them demonstrate a lack of understanding. In general, the disabled view their lives more positively than those who care for them. Not only is there a lack of access to decision-making process, people living with intellectual disabilities also experience a power imbalance making the intellect more “powerful.” There has been reports where those caring for the disabled are not delivering necessary support. For example, an elderly mother was caring for her son for years with an intellectual disability but when she became unhealthy, she was unable to give her son full support and assistance. The son took a required IQ assessment and he received a scale of 72 but the cutoff for assistance for eligibility was 70. Although he attended a regular school and had the ability to drive, he was incapable to perform simple tasks including cooking or even tying his shoelaces. The report also stated that people such as this son are overrepresented as victims and offenders in the criminal justice system (Wain 2017). Lacking knowledge of the needs of the handicapped results in the inability of a professional to respond appropriately to those in need.

Empathy is challenging to get a grasp on due to the fact that not everyone can agree on one thing and it is a very complex word. Some studies have shown that there are different levels of empathy meaning that one can have higher empathy than another and this is not strictly limited to just the intellectually disabled. Personally, I believe that empathy is a trait in which everyone is born with but to some extent. Being compassionate towards others is ingrained in our human consciousness and will be developed throughout an individual’s life. This can be influenced by an individuals surrounding or environment including parents, friends, or social media. If we as a society, broaden our knowledge on empathy and showing compassion towards those who may not be ‘normal’, in terms of the western society, then we would be more acceptable towards others.

This research paper has led me to wonder several other questions to deepen my understanding towards the topic. Because studies have shown that there are different levels of empathy which can be different from person to person, makes me wonder the meaningful cause behind this. Some research shows genetics playing a role in empathy while other research manifest the fact that empathy is a skill that people have the ability to learn. It is common sense to be able to experience being in someone’s shoes when you have personally been in that situation. With that being said, is the extremity of being compassionate towards another due to genetics or from past experiences?

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Ender's Use of Empathy in ‘Ender's Game’ by Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card called ‘Ender’s Game’ a fantasy story which talks about how human and buggers can live in a space, and it can be enjoyed as a tale about how Ender who is six years old and monitors by his brother and his sister that are older than him tries to find a safe and quite place which has not fear and no one kills him. Even though his enemies tried to control his life and destroy him, he...
3 Pages 1525 Words

Loving-kindness Meditation: Empathy And Structural Changes In The Brain

Mindfulness begins to get more attention in the field of psychology. From the beginning, mindfulness comes from Eastern traditions and this type of mindfulness is frequently connected with the practice of mindfulness meditation (Shapiro, Carlson, Astin, & Freedman, 2006). According to Brown and Ryan (2003), mindfulness describes being a state of consciousness which includes being attentive to one’s surroundings and experience. However, mindless is not being present or aware of the present moment and to be in that state all...
2 Pages 1005 Words

Theme of Empathy in To Kill A Mockingbird

It’s not a simple task to try and step into another’s shoes, however defying general beliefs to empathize with another is a feat many cannot achieve. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird was composed by Harper Lee and is told from the perspective of Scout Finch, a child growing up in Maycomb County with her father and brother in the 1930s. The reader is carried along with Scout as she expresses her evolving interpretation of the world and her deeply...
2 Pages 1091 Words

Findings And Implications Of Empathy Theories

Two contradicting theories of empathy share some similarities and differences. Firstly, both perception-action model and learned matching hypothesis suggest that empathy can be seen from human infants. However, they are different with respect to how they interpret the display of emotional cues in infants. The perception-action model (Preston & Waal, 2002) suggests that humans are more prone to show empathic patterns to others due to the evolutionary advantages. Conversely, learned matching hypothesis (Heyes, 2018) states that affect mirroring by caregivers...
2 Pages 1088 Words

Empathy And What It Means

Abstract Empathy is a passionate inherent mental or physical power that has joint intellectual and emotional segments. It is essential in bioethics since it shapes the your mind and sensitivities that are vital in clinical consideration. Empathy is important in good discernment and judgment and offers access to other people’s encounters and feelings just as the ethical space, comprehended as the weal and burden of different people. It is significant to the establishments of prescription and social insurance rehearses. This...
7 Pages 3274 Words

The Evocation Of Empathy In Statement On The Assassination Of Martin Luther King Jr. And To Kill A Mockingbird

Empathy allows one to have the capacity to understand and share the feelings of another, yet it’s a difficult emotion to show. It is often absent in countless real-world situations as many are afraid of the vulnerability felt when empathy is put into motion. However, in literature, authors of informational and fictional texts are able to apply a variety of techniques to display the importance of empathy and encourage its readers to have a sense of understanding and compassion. In...
2 Pages 958 Words

Society Needs Empathy: An Argumentative Essay on the Boston Marathon Bombing

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know when it will be too late”, – Ralph Waldo Emerson. This quote shows that the bombers that did this tragedy could have been stopped because they could have used empathy and kindness. Using that, they could’ve stopped and reflect on what decision they were going to commit to but they decided to use an act of terror. Killing 3 and injuring hundreds, they needed empathy. Due to this, my...
2 Pages 899 Words

Empathy: Is It Hardwired Or Can It Be Learned?

Empathy has been researched in the field of learning sciences thoroughly for its eminent effect on learning outcomes. In the field of psychology, there is no common definition of empathy that everyone agrees upon. However, in this essay, empathy will refer to “an affective response that stems from the apprehension or comprehension of another’s emotional state or condition” (Arghode et al., 2013, p. 7). Because of its high relevance in learning, the prolonged nature vs. nurture debate of empathy has...
2 Pages 887 Words

Pros and Cons of Video Games

Video games are an amazing escape for anyone, they act as a story that you can control and can help you fully understand a character and empathise with them better than in any other media such as book or film. If you ask a person who plays video games, a moment that stuck with them for example a death of their favourite character. But there have been many cases of shootings and violence were people have blamed games. But a...
2 Pages 1035 Words

Lack of Empathy in Ender's Game: Analysis of Connections Peter and Hitler, Bonzo and Mussolini

Lack of Empathy Peter has for Ender: In Ender’s game, Peter shows lack of empathy towards Ender because he was the reason why Ender was ever born; even though Peter was really intelligent, he was also ruthless, untrustworthy, and a sociopathic person which made him not good enough to be part of International Fleet for the Third Invasion. His lack of empathy ruined almost all of Enders childhood while Ender was in North Carolina. When Peter played buggers vs astronauts...
2 Pages 849 Words

Balancing Empathy And Self-Interest

Without recognizing the value of empathy, I struggled to sacrifice my self-interest which led to me facing difficulty in finding the people that fill my loneliness and who accept me. Grades were important to me, through much of my schooling life I focused on grade prioritizing it over anything and everything else. I put these self-interests above everything else in my life. So, when I was in middle school I managed to make a few friends I should’ve tried to...
3 Pages 1482 Words

Empathy And Sympathy

Empathy is the ability to recognise and understand what someone is going through.( Burnard 1992) defines it as the ability to enter the perpetual world of the other person to see the world as they see it. Sympathy is feeling sorry for themselves. Empathy becomes a shared experience at both cognitive and emotional levels (Kozier erb and Blais). With sympathy the feeling is not shred. Empathy make the other person experiencing a situation stronger while sympathy actually weaknesses an individual....
1 Page 540 Words

Empathy: Definition, Features And Examples

Introduction Among some of the best ways of increasing our understanding is trying to explain phenomena that we already know and questioning why these phenomena are happening . A curious mind is an essential tool that helps the bearer increase their learning and understanding of various occurrences to the best of their capabilities. Although there is no rational explanation for some observations such as why a cow may eat green grass but still produce white milk? Or why are the...
4 Pages 1856 Words

Empathy As A Core Skill For A Paramedic

What is empathy? To the general public, empathy is most commonly understood through phrases such as ‘putting yourself in someone else’s shoes’ or ‘seeing things through their eyes.’ This suggests imagining what it is like to experience the feelings and circumstances of another person and having the capacity to understand them yourself while maintaining some level of emotional detachment. In a clinical setting, empathy extends beyond a patient’s history, diagnosis, or treatment. The expression of empathy differs from that of...
3 Pages 1325 Words
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