28 minutes | Jul 20, 2020

Episode 35 - The Complexity and Importance of Empathy with Dr. Carolyn Zahn-Waxler (Part 1)

Join Amina as she interviews Dr. Carolyn Zahn-Waxler on the complexity and importance of empathy. Empathy has come up a few times before earlier this season, but during this interview, we will take an even deeper diver into the concept. Dr. Carolyn Zahn-Waxler discusses what makes empathy worth studying, more about its origins and how genes and environment play a role, as well as some negative forms of empathy and how best to avoid those. Throughout her career, Dr. Zahn-Waxler has studied the origins and development of empathy and caring behaviors beginning in the first years of life. These longitudinal studies have focused on the role of genes, temperament, family life and socialization experiences that foster or impede compassion and altruism in children. She has also conducted longitudinal studies on the role of emotion in the development of psychopathology in adolescents, as well as risk and protective factors in the development of conduct problems. She has written about the intergenerational transmission of depression from mothers to daughters from a personal perspective. She served on the Task Force on women and depression for the Lt. Governor of Wisconsin and works to de-stigmatize mental illness. Dr. Zahn-Waxler is currently interested in translational questions, for example, how scientific advances can inform the development of practices and interventions that foster kindness, altruism and positive emotions in children.
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