Psychologist Sabina Read weighs on in whether empathy can be taught
Liberal backbencher Andrew Laming has been ordered to undergo empathy training after complaints about his behaviour towards women.
The Queensland MP was last month accused of harassing two women in his electorate via social media, and taking a photo of a woman bending over at work.
Psychologist Sabina Read says empathy can be taught in some cases, but it’s not clear if it will change behaviour in Dr Laming’s case.
“You can teach it, but we don’t have enough longitudinal data over a lifetime to know if those increases in empathy through training will last,” she told Elise Elliott, filling in for Dee Dee.
“One of the factors that’s most important here is motivation.
“In the case of Andrew Laming … he was being punished and part of that punishment was to engage in empathy training.
“For all of us as humans, when we are told to do something then we’re not naturally engaged or motivated in that process, it’s probably going to fall on deaf ears.”
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