Improving Empathy in College Student

ImprovingEmpathy in College Student

Some researchers have proposed an understanding of empathy ascognitive mechanisms by which individuals internalize the feelings ofa second other while others have viewed the empathy as an affectiveconstruct. As such, procedure under empathy will mainly focus onunderstand how others feel and how one will respond emotionally tothe condition faced by the other person. Empathy concerns viewing thedegree of concern in terms of feeling expressed towards others inpredicaments, thus, it a more emotional component of empathy, forinstance, an individual might often have affectionate and troubledoutlook for people who are less providential. Nevertheless, theempathetic levels among college students have been on a decrease andas such this essay focus on the measure that can make collegestudents more empathetic.

ImprovingEmpathy among College Students

Researchersutilize the word empathetic to refer to a person’s response ascharacterized by empathy. Success in the life of college students ismuch dependant on how well this individual can relate with others andestablish communication, as enabling them to be able to view theworld around them from the perspective of others and not just as theysee it in their own eyes and understanding. It is from such a pointof that a student will be able to appreciate through understandingwhat really revolves around them, with the most success studentsappreciating the value having a open communication and taking time tolook at things/ situations from a second perspective. Despite variousconflicting views that may arise in the right place one should attendcollege, one thing has remained undisputed, that is, theestablishment of meaning communication by any college studentcultivates triumph in their public and academic lives. This developsthe students to establish different lines of opinions in the processdropping the previously held differences in various contents of goodcharacter, and instead they are able to focus on the method by whichan individual get to appreciate the other opening channels ofcommunication and show concern and care for the a change of conducttowards these people (Courtright et al 130).

Lyonsand Richard (120) argue that an empathetic reaction entails bothcognitive and a sentimental approach to a situation, thus, utilizingempathy to stand for two dominant conducts that is, an understandingof how the other feels and an effective communion with the other. Inaddition, Hojat et al (523) examines being empathetic as a status ofbeing in a position where one can comprehend and show understandingof the emotions held by a second other, and be perfectly able to actas though they are this individual. In so doing, they imaginethemselves in the shoes of the other and give emotional or evenmaterial support to these parties. Therefore, college students arecalled upon to improve their abilities to recognize and understandother people’s perceptions and feelings, at the same timeaccurately convey this understanding via an accepting response. Theseresponses may take up various forms including verbal communicationconfirming an understanding or giving a supportive look and bodylanguage, or simply a pro-social behavior for instance sharing oroffering help.


Studyhas issued support towards the stipulation of supportive exercisesthat cultivate empathetic feelings and understanding of others gearedtowards increasing pro-social behavior. This form of training doesnot only apply to college students but also to children and adults,characterizing an end-to-end program or simply a mini trainingprogram focusing on empathy. The training process has differentcomponents associated with an increase in sympathy which comprise:

Guidancecarried out for interpersonal conducts and showing responses ofunderstanding- this is a cognitive procedure via which students getsto appreciate what understanding of the feelings of others really is,how it development works, ways of perceiving different emotionalcircumstances in both others and themselves, and means they can reactto others optimistically. Thus, the training looks to enhanceempathetic perceptions and skills in students (Cotton 5).

Initialfocus on ones feelings- the training focus on having studentsincrease the abilities of assuming the perspectives of others. Thetraining is more success where the trainer allows the students tofirst be able focus on their feelings first, that is, the varioustypes of emotions they express and how they perceive them inconnection with the different kind of circumstances.

Focusingon similarities- this process involves students training to center onconnection linking them to those around them, by so doing thetrainer is seeking to have the students increase awareness infeelings similarities between themselves and others. This process hasproven too effective in increase affective and cognitive empathy.

Roletaking/ role-playing- this practice calls for the students to assumesroles of either fictional person or a real individual imagining andacting out the other persons feelings or behavior. This practice iseffective in building both affective and cognitive empathy. Inchildren, the trainer can note improvements in empathy when theyrequested narrate perspective of different subjects such as animalsor plants. For instance, this performance has worked in improvingempathy especially towards the handicapped, where the students showunderstanding by seeing beyond the in capabilities held by handicap,and realizing the inability does not define such a fellow (Cotton 6).

Continuingexercises in playing another’s standpoint- a continued and repeatedexercise in having a second viewpoint has proven to be more effectivethat just doing once or having infrequent efforts in do so. It isimperative to note that for numerous people, the ability to beimaginative and have an understanding of an individual feelings orunderstanding is not easily attained. As such, an increased role playworks as an effective way towards building higher levels of empathyin these students.

Subjectionto emotional stimuli- exposure to different stimuli, for instance, aportrayal of calamities, deficiency of basic needs, or anguishexperienced by others tends to increase empathetic feelings andresponse. Therefore, college students should be encouraged by theirtrainers of others and the needs they are faced with since it arousesempathetic outlook and actions.

Optimistictraits acknowledgment- this mechanism is also referred to as showingpraise, which is basically the process of showing understanding inteenagers or kids which is the reason why they project pro-socialconducts is because it is in them to conduct themselves as such.Research has shown the optimistic trait acknowledgement to be vitalmeans by which understanding of feelings towards others can be build.Case in point, a teacher says to her student, “I bet you sharedwith Janie because you are a nice student and like to make othershappy.” The teacher is reinforcing the good behavior in her studentand this will likely increase the children performance of the goodbehavior. The trainer’s objective is not only to attain the desiredconduct, but also, aids the student envision for themselves a caringand responsible person (Cotton 7).

Modelingempathetic behavior- in the same way research on childbearing showsthe creation of understanding in speech and action as taught by theirparents and pro-social performances, the sympathy preparations studyillustrate that instructors depiction of preferred principles, kidswill most likely follow this training than in situations where theyare just urge to have in a particular manner.

Studyingfamous empathetic persons- college students should involve intraining activities that entail the student focusing on the lifeactivities of a figure that has been on recorded to being empathetic.This kind of practice has shown a positive effect on the students’level of empathy as they get to acknowledge the attitudes andbehaviors by these icons. People like martin Luther King and MotherTheresa have been subject on focus of such learning activities(Cotton 7).

Inaddition to increase compassionate approaches, consideration, andperformance, sympathy guidance has proven to have other positivebenefits in the long run. For instance, compassion training has ledto a cultivation of an increased enthusiasm when it comes to studentsbeing more open in communication, and being more considerate of thewishes held by other around them. This has played positively insituations where there are conflicting matters since the selfishdesires are avoided. Later in life, these students have reportergreater job satisfaction and good connection with employees at thework place (Spiro 843).

Empathyand Gender among Students

Femalestudents have generally been known to exhibit higher levels empathy,females of all ages have a higher understanding especially affectiveempathy than the male counter parts. Nevertheless, research has shownthat compassionate molding bears the potential for reducing the gapexisting between compassion levels of boy and girls. However,sympathy defers with age as study clearly shows adults expressingmore compassion, being more thoughtful, and receptiveness than it isin kids, the older children and teenager are further compassionateand pro-social than very little ones (Lyons and Richard 124).

Olderyouth such as college students are in an enhanced position to berecognizing sensitive states experienced by others around them, andthey are in a better position emotionally to understand and share thesentiments of others, thus, they are able to feeling understandingfor numerous numbers of individuals and being in a position to showmore empathetic response in form of kindness and generosity towardsothers. On the other hand, growth of the young ones is distinguishedby a better self-involvement a concrete expression towards others.This is coupled with the propensity to undertake compassionatefeelings that are of a similar age or gender.

Spiro(845) identified role play as the basis towards a higher level ofcompassionate conducts one witness in teenagers in comparison to theyounger children. Scholars have discovered that compassion exercisesthat comprise uncomplicated things, for instance, calling forconsideration to the poor people in the society or identifying for anindividual, knowing they have the capacity cause joy to others. Ascompassion training plays a part in increasing compassion andunderstanding in both males and females.

Empathyand Academic Outcome

Researchhas shown a striking connection linking students’ guidance andskills to compassionate consideration and their school performance.This linkage falls on students gaining a comprehension on theirgrades points’ average. Different studies have revealed educationalcenters with running programs geared towards improving theunderstanding and compassion of their students cultivate caringcommunities and translate to higher performances in their schoolwork. Empathy training indicates that this information improveequally critical thinking abilities and creativity thinking among thestudents. Confirmation has revealed that it is not just ethical logicbut a way of thinking in general that emanates from empiricalunderstanding (Boker et al 74).


Inconclusion, college students should note that attributes thatcharacterizes empathy correlates with those of creativity thinkingand imagination. Therefore, students who end ever to improve to theirempathy also benefit from a fostered approach into diversestandpoints and encourage indisputably open thinking, it encouragescognitive and personal flexibility, it discourages hasty andsuperficial problem examination discourages belief rigidity, andpractices unrelenting snooping.


Boker,John, R., J. Shapiro, and E. H. Morrison. &quotTeaching empathy tofirst year medical students: evaluation of an elective literatureand medicine course.&quot&nbspEducationfor Health&nbsp17.1(2004): 73-84. Print.

Cotton,Kathleen.&nbspDevelopingempathy in children and youth.London: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 1992. Print.

Courtright,Kevin E., David A. Mackey, and Susan H. Packard. &quotEmpathy amongcollege students and criminal justice majors: Identifyingpredispositional traits and the role of education.&quot&nbspJournalof Criminal Justice Education&nbsp16.1(2005): 125-144. Print.

Hojat,Mohammadreza, et al. &quotEmpathy in medical students as related toacademicperformance, clinical competence and gender.&quot&nbspMedicaleducation 36.6(2002): 522-527. Print.

Lyons,Christy, and Richard J. Hazier. &quotThe influence of studentdevelopment level on improvingcounselor student empathy.&quot&nbspCounselorEducation and Supervision&nbsp42.2 (2002):119-130.Print.

Spiro,Howard. &quotWhat is empathy and can it be taught?.&quot&nbspAnnalsof Internal Medicine&nbsp116.10 (1992): 843-846. Print.