Got time for compassion tomorrow?

10 Jul

Last minute notice about the free Compassion Research Day at Facebook tomorrow (July 11th). Among the presenters and panelists are the good folks from Cal’s Greater Good Science Center and assorted educator/researcher folks, including Piercarlo Valdesolo, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Claremont McKenna College, who is speaking on “The Social Tuning of Compassion”:

What triggers, or tempers, our compassion for others? Though many have thought of compassion as a stable trait, this talk will highlight the very subtle ways in which our noble intuitions can be turned on and off, connecting and disconnecting us from one another at the flip of a switch.

I like to imagine that Blink was part of the inspiration for this session: at last spring’s conference, I asked the question of how social identity facilitates and hinders our compassion for others. More specifically, I wonder how a sense of affinity helps us to feel and act on our compassion, while an absence of affinity may prevent that. Because when we don’t see someone as human just like us, I suspect the best we can muster is pity.

And if you happen to have plans for tomorrow but have mid-July free, you might want to check out the Compassion Festival, brought to us by the Telluride Institute and Stanford University’s Center for Compassion & Altruism Research & Education: http://compassionfestival.org/index.html.

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