Tam Thao Pham

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Is age correlated with empathy?

I can see it going both ways... (1) age being related to experience engendering empathy for the different; or (2) youth being related to openness and a longer time horizon for decision-making, resulting in greater empathy

Thoughts?

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    Feb 16 2011: Yes, and no. We met Teresa Hsu who is one of world's oldest women at circa 114 years old this year.

    Listen to her 'Wisdom for all ages" at TEDx Women 2010.

    She brought tears to many eyes...

    http://tedx.posterous.com/what-message-do-our-youngest-and-oldest-tedx
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    Feb 15 2011: This is a very interesting question. I wonder if there has been any proper research done on this area, the only thing that comes to mind is that I'm relatively certain, empathy develops during childhood. I don't know of any studies that have tracked empathy further.

    I also think one has to differentiate / split up the definition of empathy somewhat, though. You mentioned "longer time horizon for decision-making", which I'm not certain of is really entailed by empathy. For me, empathy means much more the direct emotion of feeling somebody else's emotions - particularly suffering - and feeling a need to help him or her.
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    Feb 15 2011: Empathy depeds on the amount of suffering one had in his/her life. Hence, older people and women are more capable of emphathy. Too bad mankind wastes so much time and money on immaginary gods instead of realizing that it's just us with no daddy to watch over us. We should take care of each other better than we do.