After posting about 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes', I planned on posting the next test measuring the empathy quotient. So you know how it goes when a topic is on your mind. You start seeing 'empathy' articles everywhere as if they were magically appearing out of thin air. I prefer thinking they instantly appeared at my command because it's unsettling to admit that the articles were always there, I just didn’t notice them. With my attention focused on empathy, I found several videos that were intriguing.
“Empathy is the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced by another sentient or semi-sentient being. Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion.” ~Wikipedia link
Take the test: Empathy Quotient
We assume anyone can put themselves in someone else's shoes, and not just mentally. Emotionally. Really feeling deep down to the soles of their labile socks, precisely how the other person feels. Now we're learning that empathy may depend on a hormone called oxytocin. When the oxytocin is flowing, people feel empathetic, connected and bonded to other people. When you are empathetic, you are moral. A moral nature leads to being civilized because you know what's right and what's wrong without a list of rules, guidelines, and structures enforcing boundaries for your morally corrupt hormonal system.
But Dr. Zak also said in his talk that high-stress limits the production of oxytocin which diminishes the ability to empathize which further diminishes our capacity to trust, bond and build cities and there ya go. Western civilization crumbles from oxytocin deficits.
I’m one of those ocytocin-rich empathizers, bonding with friends and trusting……….most people. I used to think this was a learned behavior or out-and-out naiveté, but now…well, maybe it’s in my blood.
Oh by the way, Dr. Zak says in the video below that about 5% of human beings have an oxytocin dysregulation, traits of sociopathy, lack of reciprocity and trust. He calls 'em: Bastards. He also says empathy is in our genes. And empathy propitiates moral behavior so truly, morality is in the blood. Which means that, theoretically, psychopaths could be identified with a blood test.
Add that blood test to a marriage license, please!