Make Our Garden Grow- Cultivating Empathy


  • Paul M. Klein


As an AACSB accredited institution, we are required to demonstrate how learning occurs, what steps we might take to ensure learning. With respect to the subject of ethics, the focus is among others, the student mastery of critical concepts. But a more expansive view of ethics is an understanding of how ethical behavior might occur and the enhancements that might motivate or inspire that desired conduct. Perhaps this is the province of psychologists and there is much that can be learned from those who have thought deeply and researched tirelessly to understand how we become attentive to the inner voice that calls us to our better selves. And so it is that psychological research suggests that empathy may be the umbrella trait required to develop our capacity for tolerance, kindness, understanding and forgiveness. Accessing our better selves has become increasingly difficult in a world in which our differences are much more obvious than what we share, but as empathy researcher and Stanford University psychologist Jamil Zaki has come to understand, empathy is the “psychological superglue” that connects people and undergirds cooperation and kindness.