Decisions to act out of kindness, compassion, and concern confront us regularly in our lives. They vary in scale and impact, from the choice to hold the door to choosing to help someone in grave danger.
In moments of empathy, our emotions go a step further. Beyond sympathy, empathy allows us to share and experience the emotions of another.
When it comes to attributes of altruism, “prosocial behavior” allow us to assert our better selves. But prosocial behavior also raises the question of how we got to be this way in the first place. Were we taught? Or are we born this way?
Dr. Perri Klass is a primary care pediatrician and the author of a recent article in The New York Times, “Understanding How Children Develop Empathy.”