Intercultural Understanding and Empathy
Our innate capacity for empathy and the ability to act on the needs of the larger group were key drivers of our success as a species.
From a very early age, babies have the ability to understand the minds of others and display empathy, compassion, and helpfulness that enables us to thrive in complex social groups.
The social brain that drives our behavior and contemporary culture is essentially the same brain that appeared with the earliest humans some 300,000 years ago. Read more »
Literacy does strange things to you, and mass literacy does strange things en masse. Did you know that literate people have worse facial recognition abilities than those who are illiterate? Or that in learning to read and write your corpus callosum (the cable if you like connecting your right and left hemisphere) will have grown thicker? Read more »
Our innate moral behavior evolved over millions of years to promote cooperation within our group. Each group has its own moral code, which provides a map for how individuals can live successfully within it. Our other innate tendency, to favor our group over all others, is something we need to understand and mitigate to address the existential challenges of our modern global society. Read more »
We are without doubt living in an era of polarised thinking, marked by much bickering across social and political lines. But could positions of both side have roots in common moral foundations? Read more »
Over millions of years, our minds evolved with quick reflexes to deal with sudden threats, which makes long-term threats like pollution and overpopulation invisible to us. Our survival now requires that we consciously evolve a new mind and new perceptions to adapt. Read more »
Going beyond the left-brain/right-brain dichotomy of the rational, sequential mind vs. the creative, intuitive one, Dr. Ornstein describes the working of our everyday minds as being an ever-changing sequence of separate, special-purpose “small minds” that “wheel” in and out of consciousness to handle specific tasks—with surprising and important ramifications. Read more »
In this landmark new book, Iain McGilchrist addresses some of the oldest and hardest questions humanity faces – ones that, however, have a practical urgency for all of us today. Who are we? What is the world? How can we understand consciousness, matter, space and time? Is the cosmos without purpose or value? Can we really neglect the sacred and divine? Read more »
By Edward T. Hall
Report by John Zada
Edward T. Hall was an American anthropologist who delved deeply into what he called “hidden culture”: nonverbal, but culturally determined, cues which are filtered out from our consciousness—but which we nevertheless perceive and act upon, without even realizing it. His work explores not only the several dimensions of these cues and how they vary from one group to another, but also how critically important it is for human survival that we come to understand them.
Travel the Journey
NPR, October 30, 2023
Entrenched conflicts exist globally and locally. Here’s what behavioral science says about working through entrenched divisions.
BBC: The Documentary Podcast
Emily Wither talks to Israeli Jews and Palestinian citizens of Israel who are working together to keep the peace in their neighbourhoods.
The New York Times, October 27, 2023
The Israeli writer Etgar Keret has spent the last few weeks trying to make sense of the violence and loss around him. So far, he can’t.
The Heroic Imagination Project was founded by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University. HIP is a research-based organization which provides knowledge, tools, strategies, and exercises to individuals and groups to help them to overcome the social and psychological forces which can keep them from taking effective action at crucial moments in their lives.