When one is in distress, empathy greatly serves as a probable psychological motivator. Ideally, it enables a person to feel or imagine someone elses emotional experience. Thus, it is critical that an individual develops empathy right from their childhood as it is a significant aspect of ones social and emotional growth. At the same time, empathy development allows a person to have a naturally good ability to socialize with their peers and even strangers. Consequently, it will be crucial for the advancement of the society as people can easily work out their problems or differences. More importantly, cases of crime in the society will be reduced as the offenders will empathize with the victims, therefore, enabling them to seize recidivism. Markedly, an empathic individual is likely to maintain a good relationship with his or her family members, friends, and partner. Hence,
Study Involving the Development of Empathy
For a person to successfully conduct research involving the development of empathy, they need to focus on its development in children and further as they progress into adulthood. At the same time, a researcher should also concentrate on ascertaining the environmental as well as biological processes that aid empathy development. In this regard, the following research questions should be formulated before conducting a study on the development of empathy.
1. How do newborns and children show empathy towards others?
2. Do some children develop more empathy than others?
3. What contributes to the development of empathy?
4. How does empathy develop in atypical circumstances?
In such a study, various measures of empathic concern, prosocial deeds and responses, as well as perspective taking are considered. For instance, measuring how a child responds when they note that their fellow is distressed, what their facial expressions look like in such situations, and if they exhibit any helping behavior towards the distressed person.
Focus on the Contributors to Empathic Development
Essentially, a researcher needs to understand the factors that contribute to the development of empathy. For this reason, one should pay equal attention to both the environmental and biological processes that are believed to be primary contributors to this development. This way, a person will be able to understand how empathy deficits may arise in case any of the factors mentioned above functions indifferently.
Population to Study
As mentioned earlier, empathy is experienced right from childhood. Thus, it can be argued that empathy starts to develop from toddlerhood. However, to understand the process of empathic development better, a researcher should focus on a population that would enable them to measure all the constructs of empathy and its precursors. Thus, the study should consider a population of children aged between 4 17 years and young adults aged between 18 20 years. Both the male and female gender should be engaged in the study. At the same time, the study should involve autistic and psychopathic children to understand how empathy develops in atypical circumstances.
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