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pandabear88

Does anybody know of any scientific studies done on empaths?

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an empath has told me before that he could feel the emotions of his roommates while they were downstairs and he was upstairs in his room. would you guys say he was only misunderstanding the source of his emotions?

 

has it been proven that one person can't directly feel the emotions or physical feelings of another person? maybe they can read their emotions by expressions, and their empathy might make them feel a certain way because of it, but that's not what i mean. for example, can one person experience another person's emotions or physical feelings if they can't see them, like if a wall is between them?

 

You need to understand that science doesn't attempt to *prove* anything. The only thing we can do is offer explanations, based on observation and testing, supported with evidence, to explain various phenomena. Empathic ability of the kind you mention has been tested and lacks any evidence to suggest there is more there than a normal statistical range of sensitivity. If evidence had been found, studies and experiments to suggest a hypothesis regarding empaths could be put forward. Without some kind of testable, repeatable evidence, you can't have any kind of hypothesis or theory.

 

Science really has no stance on empaths. What you describe as an empath is supernatural, and outside what science is focused on.

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You need to understand that science doesn't attempt to *prove* anything. The only thing we can do is offer explanations, based on observation and testing, supported with evidence, to explain various phenomena. Empathic ability of the kind you mention has been tested and lacks any evidence to suggest there is more there than a normal statistical range of sensitivity. If evidence had been found, studies and experiments to suggest a hypothesis regarding empaths could be put forward. Without some kind of testable, repeatable evidence, you can't have any kind of hypothesis or theory.

 

Science really has no stance on empaths. What you describe as an empath is supernatural, and outside what science is focused on.

But Phi, can you give any links to peer reviewed studies which disprove empaths?

(Sory, I couldn't resist)

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But Phi, can you give any links to peer reviewed studies which disprove empaths?

(Sory, I couldn't resist)

 

thanks. Phi said it has been tested, so i want an article reviewing the tests.

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thanks. Phi said it has been tested, so i want an article reviewing the tests.

For the last time, please read what Phi for All wrote, read it twice, five times if needed, try to understand.

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thanks. Phi said it has been tested, so i want an article reviewing the tests.

 

The best thing would be to understand what empathy really is. People can be empathic for sure, and here's a test for that devised by the University of Cambridge.

 

Empathy is just the ability to see things from another's perspective, and if you do it right, you can't help but feel a bit the same. But that's a far cry from the kind of supernatural sensitivity you mentioned the empath you know told you he could manifest. When that sort of thing is tested for, it's never repeatable, and any variations from statistical normal are explainable through natural means. Earlier, he might have heard loud voices downstairs, now there's silence, he imagines them brooding angrily, empathizes with it, then goes downstairs and sees his roommates scowling at one another.

 

Let me ask you this, have you ever found what you're looking for, an article reviewing the tests, for something else supernatural, like telekinesis, or telepathy? Have you ever found a study saying "We tested x people and found that nobody could guess which card would come up next in a deck better than a certain range of normal capabilities"?

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The best thing would be to understand what empathy really is. People can be empathic for sure, and here's a test for that devised by the University of Cambridge.

 

Empathy is just the ability to see things from another's perspective, and if you do it right, you can't help but feel a bit the same. But that's a far cry from the kind of supernatural sensitivity you mentioned the empath you know told you he could manifest. When that sort of thing is tested for, it's never repeatable, and any variations from statistical normal are explainable through natural means. Earlier, he might have heard loud voices downstairs, now there's silence, he imagines them brooding angrily, empathizes with it, then goes downstairs and sees his roommates scowling at one another.

 

Let me ask you this, have you ever found what you're looking for, an article reviewing the tests, for something else supernatural, like telekinesis, or telepathy? Have you ever found a study saying "We tested x people and found that nobody could guess which card would come up next in a deck better than a certain range of normal capabilities"?

you're probably right. and no, but i haven't searched for that kind of article before. i never believed in supernatural powers before, so i guess there is no reason to believe in the "supernatural empaths" either.

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you're probably right. and no, but i haven't searched for that kind of article before. i never believed in supernatural powers before, so i guess there is no reason to believe in the "supernatural empaths" either.

 

+1

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you're probably right. and no, but i haven't searched for that kind of article before. i never believed in supernatural powers before, so i guess there is no reason to believe in the "supernatural empaths" either.

 

Remember that anybody studying empathic ability is going to be looking for behavior that is way beyond what would be considered normal sensitivity to the feelings of others. If they can't document this extraordinary behavior, if it can't be measured repeatedly in a meaningful way, there's no article to write. When they do find evidence, even if it runs against mainstream science, it must be considered and explained.

 

Here's a good example. People have long held that certain charms can affect the outcome of competitive activities (and lots of rational scientists insist luck is an illusion), so psychologists at the U of Cologne devised an experiment that tested this, and found there was an effect outside what would be considered normal. It's not luck really, but it seems that in situations where a lot of confidence can benefit, a lucky charm actually can increase your chances of success in a measurable way.

 

Perhaps you could undertake your own study on empaths with this perspective. Perhaps people who believe they're superempathic are more confident and successful at using the standard share of empathy we all have.

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Dogs seem to be able to correct interpret human emotional cues better than wolves, so perhaps your research should start from there.

 

There is nothing insane in saying empaths exist, as dogs can easily experience the emotions of humans near them.

The crazy begins when you say that they can get the emotions of the persona's downstairs, through walls and floors. Such a thing may be possible, but I'd say 90% of these claims are done by disregarding the scientific method.

If it is possible, maybe it has to do with the magnetic fields emitted by the brain.

Edited by quickquestion

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Dogs seem to be able to correct interpret human emotional cues better than wolves, so perhaps your research should start from there.

 

There is nothing insane in saying empaths exist, as dogs can easily experience the emotions of humans near them.

The crazy begins when you say that they can get the emotions of the persona's downstairs, through walls and floors. Such a thing may be possible, but I'd say 90% of these claims are done by disregarding the scientific method.

If it is possible, maybe it has to do with the magnetic fields emitted by the brain.

 

Dogs have extremely acute senses of hearing and smell. They can literally hear and smell your emotions like fear for example. This might look like a super power but it's only evolution I'm afraid. This has nothing to do with sensing emotions with some 6th sense so yes, there is a lot of insane in stating that empath's who have ESP capabilites exist.

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Quark....i am interested to find scientific evidence in the phenomenon too...and I have not found one though...are u interested to do research about empath?

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https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-empaths-survival-guide/201703/the-science-behind-empathy-and-empaths

I wouldn't call it a super power, I'd call it a hyper sensitivity that is difficult to cope with. Since empathy has to do with emotions, which can be rather nebulous and  not necessarily logical, I imagine it's difficult to prove rationally with 100% accuracy. I've struggled with it my entire life, and now that I'm much older, I've learned how to cope with it much better. I meditate a lot, enjoy spending time alone or with animals and have become much better with putting up boundaries- not always to keep other people's emotions/energy out, but to also keep mine in.... and learning how to not be so available to people that drain me. I definitely still find it challenging to deal with, but it's improved a great deal. The key, I think in dealing with it is to be as mindful as possible of what you're thinking and how you're feeling and noticing how that shifts when you enter other environments or come around various people. In my experience, this is the best way to determine what belongs to you and what belongs to someone else. I know some people will say that everyone deals with things like that, and that's absolutely true- but for an empath, it is to an exaggerated degree and can be debilitating and extreme. I'm not mentally ill and I do not and will not take drugs- I think the over prescribing of drugs is an epidemic frankly. Ironically, I've found the best way of handling/balancing it- is through logical, rational reasoning. If I get a pull to help someone and am overwhelmed by their emotional state/ needs, etc- I do the math and detach or 'unplug' and calculate response+action=?. If the answer is to my ultimate detriment, I put up that wall. Survival 101. It is much easier said than done, especially when it's someone you are attached to and care for deeply. Saying no or not making yourself available to anyone in need that is suffering, is extremely difficult... like, with an addict type as just an example. I have to ask myself, 'Is this action hurting or helping (me and the other person)?' It's a life time of disciplined practice. Ok, sorry- I babbled on long enough. Regardless- I would be very interested in participating in an actual scientific study where results can be measured. It would give me some peace of mind I think. To me, it's been more of a hindrance than a help until more recent years- and that's only because I'm better at controlling it.

Edited by xkp

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xkp, how did you know and find out about this for yourself? I’ve been seeing a military therapist for almost a year. She said I have this and asked if I knew what it means.  I’m logical and word smart. I have my life experiences.  But, I don’t know what it really means. That’s why I’m reaching out.

c

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I had to really think about how to answer this... given it's something I always had (and for a long time assumed everyone was the same way), but didn't really know it or accept it with confidence until I was about 30 or so. Not that I didn't have inclinations or thoughts, but self doubt played a large role and when you're tapping into the emotions and fears of others... they don't necessarily validate what you're picking up on. More often than not, they'll deny, discredit, say you're crazy, etc etc.  It's not comforting to realize that someone can see through you and invade your privacy so to speak. I didn't have anyone to help me so there was A LOT of trial and error.

Funny you should mention military because I was raised by men- all with military and/or firefighter & first responder background and jobs. As you can imagine, there wasn't a lot of room for being 'sensitive'. I was raised with a 'deal with it- don't be so sensitive- walk it off- tough it out' kind of mentality. This crippled me just as much as it helped me. It crippled me in the sense that those kinds of abilities and experiences 'don't exist' in that world- hence, my self doubt. Yet, as I got older- it helped me enormously as far as giving me the skills and mindset to deal with it in a very practical and logical way. 

My father used to worry because I spent so much time alone and preferred being around animals. Not that I didn't have friends, I had quite a few, but I was much more comfortable being alone (or with just one friend rather than groups) with books and animals. Animals' emotions are clear and pure, easy to deal with and be around. People are more complex and when I was young (and looking back now) I couldn't differentiate between my emotions and those of other people.

When I first read your question, it caught me off guard because it's been more of a journey than any specific moment or event- so I had to think. The first thing that came to mind was a memory that I am truly LOATHE to admit and frankly, gives me some trepidation to 'put out there', but it's the truth. Bear in mind this is a memory from when I was about 4 yrs old (I have a very long memory). I know I was about 4 because I hadn't started kindergarten yet, I didn't start kindergarten until I was 5. So, I guess I could've been anywhere from 3 to 4. Anyway, here it goes....

I was at my babysitter's house where my dad used to drop me off before he went to work. My brother was already in school. There was a boy, a toddler of about 9 mo/1yr or so, couldn't speak yet... and to this day I remember his name, Ben. He was in one of those toddler walkers that was a circle with the seat in the middle and wheels all around it and a little shelf that went all the way around him, like a donut. I don't know what they are called, but he used to push himself around in it. He was always smiling and happy and everyone just doted on him when he was there- the other parents, the babysitter, other older kids that were my age and older. I got jealous of all the attention he was getting and one day when no one was looking, I pushed him down a step that went from the kitchen to the living room. He went close to the edge and was looking over and I just pushed him. His walker on wheels went over with him in it and he was crying. I immediately started crying, feeling his fear, his terror- as he was feeling it. He wasn't really hurt (thank god!), but he was crying from the fear. To him, it seemed like a very long fall. It wasn't like a normal empathic response where you see someone has a broken arm and you had a broken arm or were hurt once, so you can empathize, remembering what it's like to be in that pain too. I literally felt his emotion, his fear, his terror and I was crying as much as he was, if not more. I also felt incredibly guilty after I did it, I actually felt what I did to him. What's worse is, my babysitter came running over and thought I was trying to help him- which by the time she got there, I was. By the time she got there, I was holding him and hugging him, crying and saying I was sorry. He calmed down and smiled at me. I doubt very much that he even knew that I was the one that pushed him, no one did. After that, I became his protector and de facto big sister. I loved him and felt his love for me and was ashamed I could've ever caused him any kind of pain, emotional or otherwise. I am still ashamed of that incident, but in my defense I was only 3 or 4 yrs old at the time.

Obviously, I wasn't cognizant of it then but looking back, I think that was probably the moment. There've been a lot of experiences and incidents since that time, where I was cognizant and 'coming into my own' so to speak, experiences where I've helped people more than I realized at the time, but found out later (sometimes years later) when they told me and thanked me; but that memory and those emotions from that one experience when I was 4 are as clear to me today as they were when it actually happened.

I'd be very interested to hear about what the military therapist has told you and to hear about your experiences. What's the difference between a military therapist and a non-military therapist? I'm curious to know what led her to tell you that and what led you to her. It's a strange thing to realize way into adulthood that 'Oh! Not everyone experiences this!' For the majority of my life, I assumed everyone experienced things this way and that I just had a harder time dealing with it.

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13 minutes ago, xkp said:

I had to really think about how to answer this... given it's something I always had (and for a long time assumed everyone was the same way), but didn't really know it or accept it with confidence until I was about 30 or so. Not that I didn't have inclinations or thoughts, but self doubt played a large role and when you're tapping into the emotions and fears of others... they don't necessarily validate what you're picking up on. More often than not, they'll deny, discredit, say you're crazy, etc etc.  It's not comforting to realize that someone can see through you and invade your privacy so to speak. I didn't have anyone to help me so there was A LOT of trial and error.

This is not critically thought out. You've set up a scenario where you already assume you're an empath, then set up justifications as to why detractors are always wrong, and are now impervious to reason. You've probably been told before that none of your observations are outside the normal human empathy range, but you're emotionally convinced you have something special. 

That's not to say it's not possible, just that you haven't approached this in a way that peaks any scientific interest. You need to overcome some basic minor peer review before you start making any conclusive statements about an extraordinary ability.

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Phi for All-  You've picked one segment out of several that I've written in this thread and responded with assumptions in regard to things I never said. I never said anyone was wrong about anything- you assume this. You assume I'm impervious to reason. You assume I've 'probably' been told things. You assume I'm 'emotionally convinced' of what you call 'something special',  you assume I need to overcome some 'basic minor peer review'. You assume you know a lot about me for someone taking one paragraph out of a whole and dissecting that part to justify your assumptions. I was responding to Charley's question about my experiences in regard to a previous statement. I assume you didn't really read it or if you did, you just focused on the parts that could or would justify your judgement on what kind of person you assume I am.

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51 minutes ago, xkp said:

Phi for All-  You've picked one segment out of several that I've written in this thread and responded with assumptions in regard to things I never said. I never said anyone was wrong about anything- you assume this. You assume I'm impervious to reason. You assume I've 'probably' been told things. You assume I'm 'emotionally convinced' of what you call 'something special',  you assume I need to overcome some 'basic minor peer review'. You assume you know a lot about me for someone taking one paragraph out of a whole and dissecting that part to justify your assumptions. I was responding to Charley's question about my experiences in regard to a previous statement. I assume you didn't really read it or if you did, you just focused on the parts that could or would justify your judgement on what kind of person you assume I am.

The only assumption I made was about it being mentioned before that nothing you've described is out of the normal parameters for human empathy, and that's why I said "probably". The rest are observations based on your writing, which is all I have to go by in this discussion. I "picked" that one segment to quote strictly because it held examples of what I find to be faulty reasoning. 

In science terms, you've removed your falsifiability. The way you pose your explanation for this phenomenon, you can never be shown to be wrong (and again, I'm not saying you are, just saying you aren't presenting objective support for it).

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17 hours ago, xkp said:

what an astute and keen intellect you have.

Thank you, I prefer to attack ideas, not people. 

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A bit late for the party but here goes: 

No there are no conclusive studies on empaths. You can check out Judy Orloff (which xkp linked to earlier) but a fair warning; "Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath and intuitive healer, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality." She mentions some studies in the linked article although she fails to provide links or direct quotations from it. 

I haven't seen any performance from a socalled empath that wasn't just normal cold reading. These are "psychics" under a new name IMO. Only guy I've met in real life who claimed to be an empath was diagnozed with paranoid schizophrenia which didn't help to convince me at all. 

Offtopic: I have a hard time accepting there's a psychiatrist that believes she is an empath and offers "energy-based healing". 

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Fyi:  this link is to an article done on empathy and the writer of the article changed the term to empath.  I have not read the study mentioned in this article so can't comment on validity.

 

https://psychcentral.com/blog/new-research-may-support-the-existence-of-empaths/

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On 3/21/2017 at 6:31 PM, pandabear88 said:

Or does anybody know of the scientific explanations for empath's abilities? By "empath" I mean people who claim to experience the emotions of people near them. The only explanations I've found are "mirror neurons" and "mirror-touch synesthesia", but I want to know if other explanations exist.

 

Any links to peer reviewed articles, or articles written by reputable authors would be appreciated.

Thanks!

 

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