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How good are you at perspective taking?


Last evening, the Business Insider Nordic published the following article on selective empathy and the importance of stretching our empathic ability both in teams at work and in society.

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The article ends with the statement, "The perception of diversity as an opportunity and not a threat may be a good starting point".

I'd be honoured to have some contributions from you to develop a little further the conclusions of the article.

First, allow me to explain briefly about empathy, in case you are not very familiar with the concept.

Empathy, is an innate ability that has two components: the affective empathy and the perspective taking. The affective empathy helps us feel how another person feels.

Through perspective taking, we naturally put ourselves in another person's shoes and imagine how they might feel, think and what experiences they might have.

Now, imagine this scenario: you are in a group of friends and a new person joins. You have never met this person. But she/he has a peaceful appearance and poses no threat to you. In this case, it is easier for you to relax and feel what the newcomer may feel. That's affective empathy. In addition, if you start thinking how it must be for him/her to blend in the group, that's perspective taking.

Let's imagine now another scenario: the newcomer says something or does something that you don't like. Or simply, the newcomer has an appearance that you dislike.

In this situation, how willing would you be to stretch your empathetic abilities and go out there and have a conversation with this person?

What would motivate you to be friendly to that person?

How willing are you to take the perspective of this person during the conversation.

Last, imagine talking with someone about who should have won the presidential elections in USA. At any point in the conversation, would you honestly consider the other person's point of view?

Thank you so very much for your participation!!!

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