Table of Contents Abstract 3 Introduction 4 Empathy and Human Motivation 5 Analysis of Donations 9 Empathy’s Effect 13 Conclusion 17 Refrences 20
Every individual, whether they may recognize or not, is controlled by their ability to empathize. This paper focuses on one’s ability to empathize and the effect that empathy has on decision making, specifically pertaining to one’s willingness to donate to charity. The theory presented through this analysis on empathy is the human’s inability to empathize with more than one victim at a time. Therefore the human motivation to donate is inversely effected by the number of victims represented by a charity.
First the paper will explore empathy, or the capacity to psychologically share the same feelings as another individual. Through this exploration empathy will be further analyzed and discussed in order to present a comprehensive understanding of the human’s psychological use of empathy.
Next the paper will examine donations, on both the global and local scale. It will discuss the statics of charities, and their correlation to the thesis. An interview with an organizer of local charities strengthens the argument in favor.
The essay will then analyze both the donation facts and statics and the role of empathy on the human psyche, and examine their effect on one another. And in doing so reference multiple studies under which the two were examined together.
The conclusion revisits the original thesis and states that monetary donations are greatly affected by empathy in the human psyche.
Empathy is an emotional understanding of one for another. Psychologist Paul Slovic of the University of Oregon refers to empathy as “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes” (Vedantam). Unlike the visceral and engaged act of
Links: " Eisenberg, Nancy and Janet Strayer. Empathy and Its Development. Cambridge: Cambride Univeristy Press, 1987. 292-316. Giving Statistics. 2009. 25 September 2010 <http://www.nps.gov/partnerships/fundraising_individuals_statistics.htm>. Independent Sector. Giving and Volunteering in the United States 2001. Study. Washington DC: Independent Sector, 2001. Langfeld, Herbert Sidney. The Aesthetic Attitude. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat, 1967. Latané, B and J Darley. "Bystander "Apathy"." American Scientist (1969): 244-268. Latane, B., & Darley, J. "Bystander "Apathy"." American Scientist (1969): 244-268. Morris, William. The American Heritage Dictonary of the English Language. New York, New York: American Heritage Publishing Co, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1969. National Philanthropic Trust. 2007. 25 September 2010 <http://www.npt.org/philanthropy/philanthropy_stats.asp>. Snow, Nancy E. "Empathy." American Philosophical Quarterly (2000): 65-68. Stoland, E. "Exploratory investigations of empathy." Advances in experimental social psychology (1969): 271-314. Toppe, Christopher M, Arthur D Kirsch and Jocabel Michel. Giving & Volunteering in the United States. Findings From a National Survey. Washington D.C.: Independent Sector, 2001. Vedantam, Shankar. "Beyond Comprehension: We know that genocide and famine are greater tragedies than a lost dog. At least, we think we do." Washington Post Magazine (2010).