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Empathy in the wild

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.
– Yogi Berra

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Empathy & Compassion in Society

The Culture of Empathy website is a growing portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains the largest collection of; articles, conferences, definitions, experts, history, interviews, videos, science and much more about empathy and compassion.

Start Empathy
, an initiative of Ashoka, is a community of individuals and institutions dedicated to building a future in which every child masters empathy. Start Empathy is not out to build a single program, curriculum, or silver-bullet fix. Rather, we're working to unleash demand for empathy as a core 21st century skill – collaborating with social entrepreneurs, educators, parents, and key players in the media, business, and academic sectors to make empathy as essential as reading and math in early education.

The International Center for Compassionate Organizations is dedicated
to applying compassion in government, business, schools, faith groups, colleges and universities, healthcare systems, the arts, service agencies, and other organizations. The Center responds to the emerging trend among a broad range of organizations seeking to incorporate compassion as a value and practice in their relationships with their staff, colleagues, board members, customers, and communities. It brings effective empathy and compassion programs to organizations through a nonpolitical, evidence-based, and public health approach.

The Charter for Compassion is a document that transcends religious, ideological, and national differences. Supported by leading thinkers from many traditions, the Charter activates the Golden Rule around the world. The Charter for Compassion is a cooperative effort to restore not only compassionate thinking but, more importantly, compassionate action to the center of religious, moral and political life. 

Started in 1996, Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among schoolchildren while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. At the heart of the program are a neighborhood infant and parent who engage students in their classroom.

Seeds of Empathy
is designed for Early Childhood settings to foster social and emotional competence and early literacy skills and attitudes in children three to five years of age while providing professional development for their educators. Seeds of Empathy is unique in that it powerfully engages children experientially through a community family – an infant and parent, building on the attachment relationship demonstrated between the two.

Universal Wisdom Education is an initiative of The Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom, a non-profit organisation set up in January 2005. Working at the grassroots, it provides resources, training and connections for use in schools and colleges, healthcare, hospices and drug rehab, prisons, workplace and the home.


Empathy comes with integrity, authenticity, mindsight and observation. It distinguishes between self and other without loosing sight of neither self, nor other. It helps us to navigate our social life without solitude or social overload. This LinkedIn network group is meant to gather people interested in the topic. To share ideas, research, experience and practice. To give opinions as well as listen to the opinions of others, to share knowledge in order to further our common understanding. Please join us!

Mind with Heart is a UK-based charity founded in 2010 by a group of four educators. The network now includes over 30 members. Mind with Heart is a charity dedicated to giving the space to young people and their educators to investigate and experience empathy, altruism and compassion.

Listening With EmpathyLou Agosta, Ph.D., practices psychotherapy in the Chicago area - his commitment is to provide a gracious and generous listening, empathy, to engage and reduce emotional suffering and stress. Lou is an Assistant Research Professor at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, now teaching Empathy in the History and Systems of Psychology. Lou writes an engaging and monthly newsletter which you can find on this Listening With Empathy Website. He has also written several books on empathy in the context of philosophy.

Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education
& LivingThe Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education and Living is a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded by Peter R. Breggin MD for professionals and non-professionals who want to raise ethical and scientific standards in psychology and psychiatry. The board of directors, advisory council and membership include professionals in many fields spanning psychology, counseling, social work, nursing, psychiatry, and other medical specialties, neuroscience, education, religion, and law, as well as concerned advocates, families and laypersons. Join the Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education & Living today! Be part of this innovative and forward thinking field.

Empathy & Compassion Research

The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. Based at the University of California, Berkeley, the GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: not only do they sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, they help people apply this research to their personal and professional lives.

The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) is striving to create a community of scholars and researchers, including neuroscientists, psychologists, educators and philosophical and contemplative thinkers around the study of compassion. Drawing from such varied disciplines - from etiological approaches that examine the evolutionary roots of compassion to skills training programs for strengthening compassion to neuroscientific studies of the brain mechanisms that support compassion as well as the 'warm glow' feelings that reinforce helping others, CCARE is working to gain a deep understanding of compassion and its associated human behaviors in all its richness.

Located within the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds is a research Center dedicated to creating a world in which healthy qualities of mind flourish. The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, through hard-nosed basic and translational scientific research, will help to pave the way toward more widespread incorporation of methods and practices to nourish positive qualities of mind throughout society.

There is a place where the human side of medicine is elevated, examined, and revered. Our Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics, situated in the Department of Preventive Medicine in the School of Medicine, is devoted to training medical students and health professionals as well as conducting high impact research and scholarship in the three thematic components reflected in its name.
The Mind & Life Institute is a non-profit organization that seeks to understand the human mind and the benefits of contemplative practices through an integrated mode of knowing that combines first person knowledge from the world’s contemplative traditions with methods and findings from contemporary scientific inquiry. Ultimately, our goal is to relieve human suffering and advance well-being.

The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love is a non-profit research entity a and is now the leading scientific institute focused on the expansion of our understanding of Unlimited Love. Not any kind of love, mind you. Not giddy romantic love or love of chocolate or designer shoes. But the kind of love that affirms and finds joy in the flourishing of others, engages in acts of care and service on their behalf, and is both unconditional and universal. This is the kind of love - Unlimited Love – that is exhorted as the highest goal of moral and spiritual awareness. This expanded understanding contributes to human flourishing in a world that sociologists describe as getting more spiritual rather than less so, and in which hopes for global well-being depend on spiritual progress.

Set up in 2006 the
Compassionate Mind Foundation aims to promote wellbeing through the scientific understanding and application of compassion.  We aim to do this by a number of different means: Research, Supervision and Dissemination. The website is the Foundation's window on the world and as such it provides both useful information and a forum for discussion.

How do people understand what others think and feel? How does that relate to what they themselves think and feel? What causes people to want to help or harm others? These questions underlie the research we conduct at the Laboratory on Social and Affective Neuroscience exploring the roots of empathy and mentalizing. Research in the lab is directed by Professor Abigail Marsh and is aimed at understanding human social interactions, emotional functioning, and empathy using cognitive neuroscience methods. We focus in particular on emotion and on nonverbal communication. Our research includes studies with adolescents and adults, incorporating neuroimaging, cognitive and behavioral testing, and pharmacology techniques.


The Es-Sense lab aims to investigate the role of the senses in emotion processing. They focus on how the ability identifying one’s own sensations (interoceptive awareness) impacts the ability identifying and regulating emotions in oneself and in others. They are also interested in investigating the bodily representations of emotional information. The Es-Sense Lab is based at the Psychological Sciences Research Institute at the Université catholique de Louvain.

scholarship draws attention to suffering as an “inevitable, ubiquitous, yet often overlooked aspect of organizational life (Lilius et al., 2011). Because “pain and compassion are not separate from ‘being a professional’ and the ‘doing of work’ in organizations,” (Frost et al., 2000) their scholarship focuses on organizations as “sites of everyday healing and pain” (Frost et al., 2000). CompassionLab is committed to understanding a full range of processes and outcomes related to compassion in organizations. By employing both qualitative and quantitative methods, they study organizations with a dual dedication to fostering understanding and inspiring actions that foster compassion at work.