Distance, hygiene, everyday mask: The Corona rules present us with challenges every day. Empathy and empathy help to persevere with the measures.According to a new study, willingness to adhere to distance rules and to wear face-to-face protection also depends on empathy.
The more empathetic one is, the more likely it is to take these measures in the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus to obey.
A study by researchers at the university in Aarhus, Denmark in the journal ‘Psychological Science‘show that it is even possible to increase human compassion and thus the willingness to follow the measures, the university said on Tuesday.
Empathy is an important factor
“We show that empathy is an important factor for those most at risk, and that it can be used actively to combat the pandemic,” German research director Stefan Pfattheicher was quoted as saying by the university.
This knowledge can ultimately help save lives.
For the study, which was based on surveys in Germany, the USA and Great Britain, the relationship between the compassion of the participants and their attitude towards social distancing was first examined.
They then had to answer to what extent they avoided social contact because of the corona virus. “The relationship is clear. The higher the level of empathy, the more the focus is placed on reducing social contacts,” said a statement from the university.
Meeting those affected helps
In addition, two experiments found that participants showed more compassion when presented with a victim. The willingness to keep their distance and wear mouth and nose protection increased.
“When we are confronted with a specific person who is prone to Covid-19, then it is clear that empathy is strengthened and we are more likely to follow the guidelines,” Pfattheicher said.
Pfattheicher, S. et al. (2020): The Emotional Path to Action: Empathy Promotes Physical Distancing and Wearing of Face Masks During the COVID-19 Pandemic, abgerufen am 13.10.2020:, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0956797620964422