ERIC Number: ED260470
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Aug-10
Reference Count: 0
Empathy: The State of the Art and Science.
Gordon, Ronald D.
Despite the almost complete lack of research addressing a theoretical understanding of empathy or ways to increase human empathy, empathy is a central component of effective human communication. Seen as a key social science phenomenon, it is viewed, along with power, as an inextricable component of human dynamics, and, in its relationship with altruism, possibly plays a causal role. A problem with research on empathy has been a lack of conceptual clarity. Three ways to improve empathetic listening are to avoid judgment, give the speaker time to speak without interruption, and focus on the speaker. Many of the helping professions have attempted training programs aimed at increasing the empathetic communication skills of practitioners in these fields. However, being told to listen empathetically is not the same as being taught to listen with empathy; and in critique of the empathy skills programs that are conducted within the helping professions, a significantly raised test score does not mean that empathy has been attained. Although empathetic communication is a complex subject matter, skills associated with empathy and active listening have been perceived as being more important than skills associated with critical or deliberative listening. (EL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the International Conference of the World Communication Association (Baguio, Philippines, August 10, 1985).