Tianna Loose, Didier Acier, Jean Luc Pilet, Aurore Deledalle and Ghassan El-Baalbaki

We developed and validated a new version of our test of temporal competency. In three studies we (1) defined dimensions, created items and studied face and content validity; (2) examined dimensionality and reliability; and (3) confirmed factor structure and studied convergent validity. Focus groups were held in which we drew up temporal concepts that articulated well with clinical observations. We derived a questionnaire that was administered to French young people and this data was used to reduce the questionnaire to 15 items. Reliability and validity of the 15-item version was studied among samples: French college, French high school, and Québec college. Five dimensions were defined and retained: anticipation, full present, temporal rupture, past, future. 15 items explained 68% of variance. The model provided adequate fit in confirmatory analyses across samples. Scales converged with hypothesized dimensions of the ZTPI and scales mostly maintained acceptable reliability. Conceptual issues with ZTPI were addressed, possibly rectified and discussed in light of clinical practice. The past was defined by how much one grows from experience independently of how ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ events were. Full present and temporal rupture relate to living in the now, the first by means of flow and engagement, the second by means of addictive behaviors. Future entailed a projection unto uncertainty, whereas anticipation defined adapting behavior in order to achieve short-term goals. We found that the questionnaire had adequate psychometric proprieties among Francophone youth in Canada and in France.

Ari Widyanti and Dewi Regamalela

The sensitivity of mental workload measures is influenced by cultural and individual factors. One individual factor that is hypothesized to influence mental workload is time orientation. The aim of this study is to observe the influence of time orientation on temporal demand and subjective mental workload. One hundred and two participants representing three different time orientations, namely monochronic, neutral, and polychronic orientations, assessed using the Modified Polychronic Attitude Index 3 (MPAI3), voluntarily participated in this study. Participants were instructed to complete a search and count task in four different conditions with varying degrees of difficulty. Mental workload was assessed using subjective (NASA-TLX) and objective (heart rate variability, or HRV) methods and analyzed for each condition. The results show that, with comparable performance and comparable HRV, monochronic participants show higher sensitivity than neutral or polychronic participants in subjective mental workload, particularly the temporal demand dimension. The implications are discussed.

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Irina Ionita

Abstract

If time is money and the human being an endless range of the homo œconomicus figure who maximizes profit/pleasure by minimizing losses/pain, isn’t empathy eminently anti-utilitarian? Isn’t the effort to connect with the Other, by putting oneself in the place of the Other in order to understand their perspective from their point of view, a risk of minimizing profit/pleasure by maximizing losses/pain? And isn’t that a promising prospect? Stemming from this questioning, the paper tells the story of an interdisciplinary doctoral research in development studies on the nomadic concept of empathy. Beyond inter- or trans-disciplinary, empathy becomes an undisciplined concept, which not only navigates from a discipline to the next, but also questions the ethics and epistemology of every step of the way by taking the researcher into unexpected conceptual, geographical and geopolitical territories. In this case, it moves conceptually from anti-utilitarianism to decoloniality; geographically, from Geneva to Quebec and Ontario; and geopolitically, from a Western perspective to Indigenous loci of enunciation. Through three hypostases, empathy raises some interesting ethical and methodological questions in the realm of social sciences. While trying to answer the initial question of the pertinence of an anti-utilitarian type of empathy by exploring what seemed to be from afar an original case study, the concept took the researcher to Canada, to the Iroquois nations and their notion of responsibility towards the 7th generation into the future. However, when confronted with the complex colonial dimension of the relationship with the Indigenous peoples, the concept became a heuristic tool for the researcher who had to redefine her own capacity to empathize with her interlocutors, which in turn redefined her entire project. Undisciplined, empathy finally became an ethical decolonial practice, helping the researcher build unexpected bridges between several schools of thought and perceive a reciprocal, respectful and responsible dialogue.

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Paulus Pimomo

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the relational problems in empathy at the collective and individual levels in order to explore the generally neglected subject of responsibility for empathy-related behavior. The idea is that examining the relational problems at both levels would reveal probable causes and point to possible solutions. I use a fictional short story by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe (“Dead Men’s Path”) to draw attention to the problems of group relations. Achebe’s story deals with power relations under colonialism which, by extension, can be made to stand in for the all-too-familiar phenomenon of dominant groups trying to change, even makeover, a minority’s way of life. For obstacles in individual relations I refer to a real-life event, the trial of Khmer Rouge leader Duch for war crimes, and the role played by his victim-turned-witness Francois Bizot. Bizot’s empathic connection with his captor Duch is not singular in history, but it is extremely rare so I use it as a reverse example of the universal human problem of refusing to recognize the supposed ‘other’ in ourselves. Taken together, Achebe’s story and Bizot’s part in Duch’s trial can help us understand what being a responsible community and a responsible individual might mean in relations that involve empathy. But any deontological exploration would require a basis for determining responsibility, so I tentatively propose the basis for empathic responsibility to be the twin obligation of a) recognizing the supposed radical ‘other’ in oneself (say, the torturer living inside the victim – in potential) and b) accepting human diversity, which would necessitate negotiating differences with others as a salient mode of becoming human together.1

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Judy Rollins

Abstract

Today there is an emergent movement in hospitals led by artists dedicated to creating unique work designed specifically to promote positive outcomes for patients, family, visitors, and staff. The style of this contemporary ‘purpose built’ art may be abstract, realistic, fanciful, ambiguous, or on occasion, threatening. Research to date is scant and primarily anecdotal, yet findings indicate that patients use these artists’ work in very specific ways and find such artwork helpful in coping with healthcare settings and experiences. The purpose of this international study, the author’s Scholar project at The Institute for Integrative Health, is to identify this type of art in hospitals, and to examine the perceptions of the individuals who create, choose, or use this art; the principles that guide their creation and selection process; and evidence of the impact on individuals exposed to the art. An early finding of this research is the work of Boston artist Joan Drescher. Drescher was commissioned to create a series of murals for the oncology waiting area and treatment rooms at the Floating Hospital for Children in Boston. The ‘Symbols of Courage’ murals depict the journey that children and families travel, from feeling well before diagnosis, to not feeling well and diagnosis, through the entire treatment protocol. She hung her sketches in the doctors’ conference room to give children, their families, and staff the opportunity to review them and verify themes. Children have used Drescher’s images to communicate feelings about their illness or hospitalization. When they look at the murals, children say they feel that someone understands where they are. Parents sense being seen and heard, saying that at last someone knows what they are going through. Hospital staff report having a better understanding of what patients and families undergo.

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Rosa E. Belvedresi

Abstract

‘Empathy’ is a key concept in epistemology of history usually applied to understand other’s actions. The issue is linked to Dilthey’s hermeneutical theory, the starting point where all the discussions about historical understanding are coming from. The aim of this paper is to consider the concept of ‘empathy’ and to explore its connections with notions like trauma and suffering of others. We will analyze LaCapra’s ‘empathic unsettlement’ in order to see if it offers a plausible way to adopt empathy in history without falling in the typical misunderstandings (allegedly mindreading abilities, esoteric spiritual contact, and so on) and keeping the true-claims safe. Recovering some ideas connected to empathy would be helpful so as not to miss the point that history is a product of human agency. Obviously, historical processes involve contextual conditions which are difficult for agents to change. Some processes are so radically new, such as traumatic events, that alternative approaches are required to unfold their complex meanings. With the intention of assessing the fruitfulness of LaCapra’s theory to reach historical (and empathic) understanding we will propose an example taken not from trauma studies but from Argentinean history in order to evaluate the possibility of a broader scope of the ‘empathic unsettlement.’

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Giovanna Costantini

Abstract

If empathy means to put oneself in someone else’s shoes, it plays a great role in education. Teachers are supposed to be empathic because they have to understand the needs and the emotions of his/her pupils in order to make them successful in terms of learning and autonomy. Their ability consists on creating a positive atmosphere inside the classroom thanks to their attitude; this helps the students to cooperate thus enhancing the process of learning. From a survey conducted in seven classes of students between 11 and 14 years old, in which the teenagers were asked to answer some questions related to what empathy was for them, how important it was between mates and with teachers, and what they would have done to improve it, it has emerged that empathy is necessary in class, either between mates or with teachers; students have given some personal definitions about empathy and some advices to the teachers in order to improve their attitude, among others for example, to be more open-minded and talk to the students more often. Several people think that empathy is a natural ability, but, as the Australian comedian, Tim Minchin declared, empathy is intuitive, but is also something you can work on, intellectually. That is why professionals should work on how to acquire practiced skills. This chapter gives some advices to the teachers in order to strengthen their abilities as empathic and successful teachers. One of the approaches considered in this analysis is the flipped classroom, where pupils have the opportunity to prepare and to present lessons thanks to the support of the teacher and of the technological instruments. In this context, empathy plays a decisive role because students are really asked to put themselves in the teachers’ shoes, either in terms of emotions or in terms of skills.

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Barış Mete

Abstract

Empathy in narrative fiction is broadly defined as the capability of readers to share the feelings or the experiences of characters. It is already indisputable that all forms of character identification in fictional narratives essentially require empathy. In other words, readers have empathy with fictional characters whose experiences they personally share. In addition to this, readers have empathy especially with protagonists for they spend most of their time dealing with them during the course of reading. What should specifically be underlined here, moreover, is the fact that empathy not only emerges but also fully develops between readers and characters mostly in narratives that have traditional characteristics in terms of their plot structures and character development. Non-traditional narratives either interrupt or exactly block the possibilities of the rise of shared feelings between readers and characters by reason of a number of elements. As empathy in fictional narratives necessarily builds on the spoken descriptions of the events by the narrator, any divergence from traditional roles of the narrator – especially the role of the narrator as a truthful and reliable entity for the reader – could possibly affect the nature of interactions between readers and characters. Instead of empathy, it might then be the disagreement and the disunity that would better define what readers feel in such situations. The British novelists John Robert Fowles’ The Collector (1963) and Jean Iris Murdoch’s The Black Prince (1973) are two fictional narratives where readers become unable to have empathy with the protagonists as a result of the experimental narrative structures of the novels.

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Victoria Aizkalna

Abstract

The subject of empathy and the role it has in forming a well-functioning society has become widely discussed since the advances of modern technology of functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI) give us the possibility to read human brain and track what parts of brain respond to certain stimuli. High, therefore, is the temptation of falling into a rabbit hole of labeling certain parts of physical human brain to be the key to understanding of a complex world of human mind and consciousness, of feelings and emotions. In the present article the focus is on understanding phenomenon of empathy, and also to the downsides of the cult of empathy. Saying this, by no means I want to diminish the value of findings and discoveries of neurosciences, however I am going to argue that mapping the brain is not the key to understanding mind, and that empathy is not the key to the solution of conflicts, nor it leads to stronger societal bonds. What does, then? There is no one, nor two or three good answers. There are plenty of ways to approach the subject, and any of them are right and wrong to certain extend. However, it might be safe to say that going back to the roots is the place to begin. Complex mechanism of society is based on interpersonal relationships of individuals. Individuals are shaped by the society they live in. To understand how this process intertwines and where is the place for the empathy, if it is at all needed, in the present article is approached through the phenomenon of conceptual schemes and consciousness in the theories of Donald Davidson and Daniel Dennett. Through understanding of the ways of processing and storing information for further use and decision-making, we will see what are the dangers of over-using empathy, and argue for usefulness of rational compassion.

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Johannes Rohbeck

Abstract

The central idea of this paper is that our contemporary historical awareness, which is turning increasingly towards future, is accessible to philosophical reflection. This raises issues about the need for a new Philosophy of History that refers less to past but more primarily to present and future problems. If a moral responsibility and even empathy for future generations is addressed thereby, the Philosophy of History goes hand in hand with Future Ethics. From the perspective of the Philosophy of History, the ‘responsibility for future generations’ needs to be discussed by referring to the relationship between successive generations. In the current state of Future Ethics, differing models for the understanding of the relationship of the present people to those of the future have evolved. The most basic model is the one of family care, which has the advantage of proximity to the lifeworld and empathy with the relatives, but is limited to the three generations living at the same time. The model of a dialogue between the present and the future generations and the one for constructing an intergenerational contract are also extremely widespread; these models may be extended into the remote future, but they remain fictive and abstract. Therefore, the problem is to find a model that is less fictive and, at the same time, may be related to the remote future. To complement these approaches, I propose the model of intergenerational heritage. This transcends the limited timeline of family care, and it is also more realistic than the constructions of a dialogue or a contract. Additionally, this model permits an available opening for the empathic handling of the inherited in the future.