Successful Relationships Reading Corner
This week, we wrote about how empathy helps to make peaceful relationships possible. Here are some articles on aspects of empathy, Theory of Mind and mirror neurons.
Empathy: How to Feel and Respond to the Emotions of Others “Empathy has an important role to play in your life. First, it can strengthen your bonds with the people you interact with. As you try to understand others, you also make them feel heard and understood. They’re then more likely to take the time to empathize with you as well. This deepens your relationship and promotes that feeling of connection that all of us desire.”
Do Mirror Neurons Give Us Empathy? “Did you ever have that sensation where you’re watching someone do something—serve a tennis ball, say, or get pricked by a needle—and you can just feel exactly what they must be feeling, as if you were in their shoes? Scientists have long wondered why we get that feeling, and more than two decades ago, a team of Italian researchers thought they stumbled on an answer. While observing monkeys’ brains, they noticed that certain cells activated both when a monkey performed an action and when that monkey watched another monkey perform the same action. “Mirror neurons” were discovered. Since that time, mirror neurons have been hailed as a cornerstone of human empathy, language, and other vital processes.”
Teaching Theory of Mind and Perspective Taking “Theory of Mind is the ability to attribute mental states to the self and to others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and perspectives different than one’s own. For a person who has developed a theory of mind, they will be able to understand that people’s interests are different – you might like sports even though I don’t and I might like hiking even though you don’t.”