Why Empathy Matters: The Science and Psychology of Better Judgment

Overview

A road map to empathic and efficient decisions and policies, constructed from new insights in the science of human judgment

Faced with another's suffering, human beings feel sympathy and may even be moved to charity. However, for all our good intentions and vaunted free will, we are lousy at making the bigger decisions that actually improve lives. Why? Drawing on his sweeping and innovative research in the fields of psychology, behavioral economics, and neuroscience, philosopher...

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Why Empathy Matters: The Science and Psychology of Better Judgment

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Overview

A road map to empathic and efficient decisions and policies, constructed from new insights in the science of human judgment

Faced with another's suffering, human beings feel sympathy and may even be moved to charity. However, for all our good intentions and vaunted free will, we are lousy at making the bigger decisions that actually improve lives. Why? Drawing on his sweeping and innovative research in the fields of psychology, behavioral economics, and neuroscience, philosopher and cognitive scientist J. D. Trout explains how our empathic wiring actually undermines the best interests of individuals and society. However, it is possible to bridge this "empathy gap" and improve our decision-making. Here, Trout offers a tantalizing proposal- how to vault that gap and improve the lives of not just ourselves but the lives of everyone all around the world.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"The Empathy Gap is an important and engaging book, and Trout's ideas are eye-opening and fascinating. Trout explains a large set of new ideas about human rationality, emotion and well-being, and connects them to pressing social and political issues. This is an invaluable enrichment of public discourse, which could lead to new ways of framing our current dilemmas and to new solutions to them."
-Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate and The Stuff of Thought

"Trout engagingly identifies the issues facing citizens who worry about others' exploiting their natural imperfections as decision makers, but also worry about relying on paternalistic institutions to protect them. Recognizing that those institutions are similarly flawed, Trout calls fro information sharing, public deliberation, and empirical evaluation of interventions."
-Baruch Fischhoff, Howard Heinz University Professor, Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, and past president of the Society for Judgement and Decision Making

"J.D. Trout's The Empathy Gap provides insightful answers to explain how good people can look the other way and do so little to respond to massive problems affecting other human beings. He uses the latest findings in behavioral decision research, with his practical understanding of philosophy to outline a better world. We would all be better off if the new administration in Washington read and understood the messages that are outlined in this. In fact, Trout's The Empathy Gap explains so much of what has gone wrong for the last eight years. This work has the power to transform how we think about and act on challenges to improve society."
-Max H. Bazerman, Straus Professor, Harvard Business School, coauthor of Negotiation Genius

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143116615
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/26/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 811,120
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

J.D. Trout is a professor of philosophy and adjunct professor of the Parmly Sensory Sciences Institute at Loyola University in Chicago. He has held fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Mellon Foundation, and National Endowment for the Humanities. His previous books include Epistemology and the Psychology of Human Judgment, Measuring the Intentional World, and The Theory of Knowledge. He lives in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife and two children.

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