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College students losing their sensitive side!

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posted on May, 31 2010 @ 06:56 AM

Are college students as nice as they used to be? Apparently not, and modern technology may be partly to blame. A new University of Michigan study has found that since 2000, college students have become less empathetic.
Compared with college kids of the late 1970s, the study says, today's are less likely to agree with statements including "I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective" and "I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me."

The meta-analysis was led by Sara Konrath, a researcher at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, and was presented in Boston at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science. She analyzed data on empathy among almost 14,000 college students over the past 30 years.

"We found the biggest drop in empathy after the year 2000," said Konrath, who is also affiliated with the University of Rochester's Department of Psychiatry. "College kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait."

Why is their empathy declining? Konrath and graduate student Edward O'Brien, who worked on the study, suggest several reasons, which they hope to explore in future research. "The increase in exposure to media during this time period could be one factor," Konrath said. "Compared to 30 years ago, the average American now is exposed to three times as much non-work-related information.

"In terms of media content, this generation of college students grew up with video games, and a growing body of research, including work done by my colleagues at Michigan, is establishing that exposure to violent media numbs people to the pain of others."

Social media may also play a role, O'Brien said.

"The ease of having 'friends' online might make people more likely to just tune out when they don't feel like responding to others' problems, a behavior that could carry over offline," he said.

Add in the hyper-competitive atmosphere and inflated expectations of success, fueled by celebrity "reality shows," and there's a social environment that works against slowing down and listening to someone who needs a bit of sympathy, he said.

"College students today may be so busy worrying about themselves and their own issues that they don't have time to spend empathizing with others, or at least perceive such time to be limited," O'Brien said.


I knew it! People get more and more egoistic. It's so sad. Empathy is the best, greatest quality of every human. It just makes us human. How often must I see injustice. Young people that never felt love. We unlearn being human, forgot our real inner size. Let us reduce to consume and work. Not with me! I posted this to tell you something: only consciousness matters! We don't need aggression, greed, hate and fear. We need respect, love and consciousness - and of course empathy! Real friends, and not WOW friends, point in our hearth and not on our ATS account. Please people wake up, before everything that makes us human is lost.

Do you think there is a way to reverse this? When we loose our best, we are no longer able to teach out children what is right, and what is wrong.
Bad Times....

A fonder Peace - Cushy.

[edit on 31-5-2010 by cushycrux]

posted on May, 31 2010 @ 07:31 AM
Are you not affected? No reaction, is it so hurtful? Or do you think:"feelings are gay". Please people give me a Idea!

The Hate-Threads have 1000 posts in one day. And this just gets ignored? Are we that far already?

Sure, no further pushing up. If this is no issue for you, let it be and this thread die in a minute-deadline.

posted on May, 31 2010 @ 07:53 AM
reply to post by cushycrux

My philosophy is :

People are just scum.

But seriously, I don't know if narcissism can be cured.

posted on May, 31 2010 @ 08:04 AM
I am at university... I am probably the most empathetic person you would meet!

I see everyone as equals!

I try to find common ground with everyone I meet and just enjoy every moment!

I am alive and so are my friends and that is all that matters!

posted on May, 31 2010 @ 08:09 AM
I can totally see this from kids going to business school.

Weren't there business grads from MIT that wouldn't sign the ethics pledge?

Not like they'd follow it anyways--and that was their reasoning too...

On the other hand, practically everyone in my family is in/has gone to college. None of them are narcissistic or self centered...

posted on May, 31 2010 @ 07:48 PM
i imagine its because college kids have a ridicoulous amount of work to do daily that takes away from their social time which makes them bitter and jaded.

also its society now days we live in a world where you mite wave to a neighbour or smile but if you would never once think to invite them over for dinner would you?
as human beings we are all to socially awkward, im not going to lie im the most awkward person i know, because i dont really "know" alot of people.
i was always picked on growing up so i never had many freinds.

and bullies are a real factor to this as well, your bullied your whole life and then you just avoid people in general
thats a reason i joined ats, i wanted to be more social, and to vent.
i know online communities really arent that social, but i think its a step in the tight direction however.

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 01:05 PM
As of now, I can just say that I agree with you and this is indeed a thing of concern. I am one of those people who believe that basic mannerisms and civility are very important in people's lives and can have a huge impact on the society, it's high time this should be paid attention to.

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 01:38 PM
This study is ridiculous!

I score 93% on their empathy test - and I have a voracious appetite for violent (and strategic) video games!

I believe it's far more likely that these questions are just too wishy washy for modern youths sensibilities.

I have taken another well known online empathy test (on which I scored an 88%) that had more sensible specific situational questions - that encouraged honest answers without making one "feel" weak or goofy for one's choice.

That test was also superior because it considered a 94%+ result to be pathologic as it approached martyrdom as opposed to actual healthy empathy in the test subject.

I do think we need to do extensive screening for empathy and altruism in citizens across the world - but more for diusqualifying unfit candidates from government office than for evaluating the "moral decline of modern society"

In regards to this test - I am sure a more modern - more situational specific test - would fail to show such a rapid decline in empathy amongst college students.

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 01:47 PM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

Well i found out that in 1992 in school that uk is using electronic mind control, and they absolutely destroyed me for no reason.

So its been on going for a while, and i wonder what this tech and who is suing it are having.

If i found out this in uk, they must be using it in usa schools too. But like i say in all other threads, let the world have as much scum as it can handle, and man do these people in society exhibit being scum or what.

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 01:54 PM
I agree with their results. I started college in 2000 and finished grad school in 2006 and in that time frame alone I noticed that people were becoming less and less empathetic - would throw anyone under the bus to get ahead. I'll never forget a conversation I had with a group of young instructors at a party around 2004 (went to art school, teachers hung out with us) about the mentality of students pre-9-11 versus post-9-11. They all noticed that the attitudes of students had changed significantly. Students were less likely to engage in class, form opinions, meet with like-minded individuals, and basically further their education on their own.

Having dated people who were addicted to violent video games, I will agree, at least as far as those individuals were concerned, that the violence in the games carried over to their own lives. I recall a friend of one of these people who would go out into the woods after playing violent video games and shoot anything that moved--birds, squirrels, deer, raccoons, people's pets -- leave them there to suffer if they weren't killed instantly -- and then come back home to laugh about it.

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 01:56 PM
reply to post by Cobra5000

Yep i agree and always have on those games, i never play those violent games, or watch those hollywood trash movies. Just sick.

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 02:09 PM

Originally posted by Cobra5000
I recall a friend of one of these people who would go out into the woods after playing violent video games and shoot anything that moved--birds, squirrels, deer, raccoons, people's pets -- leave them there to suffer if they weren't killed instantly -- and then come back home to laugh about it.

now i wouldnt be so fast to blame violent videogames
i play violent videogames all the time, ill name a few i play do some research you will find they are very violent
darksiders, call of duty modern warfare 2 and, halo 3
but i would never take part in the act you have described or any similair act.

no, the people who do those things already had the thoughts in their heads, maybe videogames had some influence, but the fact is that its their own minds that hold the problem not the games, these people are very sick and need help (maybe an icepick flabotomy for some)
so in conclusion theres more to the problem than outside influence.

alos have you ever seen the movie powder? im sure you would like it if you havent

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 02:16 PM
Or maybe students today are waking up to the fact that their huggy-squishy, feel-good, share-and-share alike predecessors's ideologies haven't made the world a better place and are actually taking things away from people?

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 02:39 PM
reply to post by cushycrux

It's part of the natural decay of civilization. All these searches for "causes" are off-base. Saying the media is causing the lack of empathy is like saying nausea causes fever, when the underlying cause of both is the flu virus.

We're on the way out. The Ancient Greeks, Romans, Mongols, Ottomans, and every other civilization that was once great entered a cycle of decline. Nothing lasts forever.

I could go into further detail as to my idea of how and why this decay process works, but I'll leave that to its own thread whenever I have the time. A good place to start though is here:

The guy is a little kooky with some of the things he says, but he has the right idea.

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 03:02 PM
I've noticed that as well and have remarked to family about it; but, I also believe if the same exact study was done on other age groups you'd find differences as well.

The things I would look at as causitive factors are many.

Things that the colleges here push strongly.:

1. Survival of the Fittest has been taken out of context (it originally meant he who reproduces fastest ... not he who has more brains or brawns).
2. Atheism.
3. Elitism.

Internet and Video Games:

1. Player Killers (PVP) in MMORPG started just after 2000.
2. Games detach you and it's you vs. the world in some games.
3. Web proves the government, police, preachers, teachers, doctors, lawyers and big corporation cannot be trusted.

Music - "Bad Boys" get all the ladies. Not true at all; but, those who believe it will follow it.

TV - They kill women and children as the regular bread-n-butter violence now. In the 60's, they simply never did kill women on shows.

News - Pervasive and overwhelming at times.

Reality TV - There's nothing real about it! To win you have to ACT the part of the coldest, most selfish, most uncaring, most double-crossing person you can emulate. Survival has nothing, NADA, zilch to do with survival abilities.

Black Flag Ops and Conspiracies - The common people are becoming aware.

And much more - there are too many reasons for people to close themselves off, to stop trusting others, and to go it alone. This emotional isolation degrades empathy and other positive human attributes.

The world is too big, too bad, and too terrifying. Whether it's actually more gruesome, or we are actually more aware of the evilness now is also a factor that would need to be determined.

My mother believes empathy is a BAD thing. I'm not sure how she got that idea. So, there are still questions left unanswered.

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 03:22 PM
reply to post by Trexter Ziam

i dont see why athiesm and survival of the fittest is a bad thing its logical thought really, but lets not get into a religious rumble
so heres something for you
elitism is universal
there are athiests who are not to be trusted just like there are religious people not to be trusted, just like there are black thugs but that doesnt mean there arent white thugs
to tell the truth all sides are equal because were all human beings
just because your a christian doesnt make you more morale than an athiest freind just like being an athiest doesnt make you smarter than a christian freind, there are just as many brainy christians and nice athiests as there are dumb christians and mean athiests

dont blame athiesm and darwinistic teachings for peoples lack of empathy because the same can be said for deists and christian teachings

beleive me ive tried to argue for athiesm and people always have a counter arguement, and i find becasue us athiests and you christians really arent so different.
except with extremist fundamentalists and militant athiests,
the phrase "too much of a good thing" comes to mind

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 03:26 PM

Originally posted by Trexter Ziam

Reality TV - There's nothing real about it! To win you have to ACT the part of the coldest, most selfish, most uncaring, most double-crossing person you can emulate. Survival has nothing, NADA, zilch to do with survival abilities.

I must respectfully disagree with you on this point. Unfortunately "reality" TV does reflect reality because young people are modeling their behavior after people on reality TV shows.

Older people may see the characters on reality TV shows as cartoon-like charicatures, but many young people see these people as model behavior. Many young people think that they can get ahead in the office by acting like deceitful like Omorosa from the Apprentice or that they can be popular if they act like the cast of The Jersey Shore.

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 03:45 PM
reply to post by hotpinkurinalmint

I respectfully disagree that we are even disagreeing.

You did expand on what I said a bit and that will surely help some to understand.

Though if you wish to disagree that we are disagreeing, that's okay with me too. I'll agree to disagree.

posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 03:55 PM

Originally posted by ashanu90
reply to post by Trexter Ziam
i dont see why athiesm and survival of the fittest ... its logical thought really

You got it in 4 words! "it's logical thought really"

Logic and Empathy, Right Brain and Left Brain, Oil and Water

I'm not saying it's bad either! It's a possible explanation and I made no moral judgement.

[edit on 1/6/2010 by Trexter Ziam]

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