Scientific American: What, Me Care? Young Are Less Empathetic


What is Your Empathy Level?

Empathy is when you care about others in both sadness and joy.

Empathy allows you to understand where another person is coming from even if you don’t agree with them. It bridges differences and opens communication with others. The world needs more empathic leaders, parents and people in every profession.

Just as intelligence can be measured with an IQ, your level of empathy can also be assessed with an Empathy Quotient (EQ). Take the following quiz to determine your EQ:

What is Your Empathy Quotient (EQ)?

1. Are you sensitive to others, care about them, and want to help?
2. Do you listen with your heart not just your head?
3. Can you hold space for others to express their emotions?
4. Can you listen without needing to fix someone’s problem immediately?
5. Are you capable of the give and take of intimate relationships?
6. Are you intuitive and sensitive to other’s needs?
7. Do you care about the greater good, and the wellbeing of Earth?

If you answered “yes” to six to seven questions you have an extremely high empathy quotient
Responding “yes” to four to five questions you have a high EQ
Responding “yes” to two to three questions you have a moderate EQ
Responding “yes” to zero to one question you have a low EQ and are ready to start to develop your empathy.

Empathy is a skill that you can developed through mindful awareness. To do this first quiet your inner chatter so you can bring your total presence to a conversation. Then take the time to listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Even if you don’t agree with them, try to understand what they are experiencing and feeling. This will allow you to develop more empathy for the other person and improve your ability to communicate with them.

No matter what your EQ is, it’s always possible to develop more empathy and to protect and center yourself if you are experiencing empathy overload. You don’t have to absorb the stress of the world. More information on how to develop your empathy and strategies to protect yourself in my book The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Your Sensitive Self, Your Relationships and the World.

Judith Orloff, MD is a New York Times bestselling author with the upcoming book The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Yourself, Your Relationships and the World (Foreword by the Dalai Lama). She has also written The Empath’s Survival Guide and Thriving as an Empath, which offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people. She integrates the pearls of conventional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, empathy, energy medicine, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice and online internationally. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA, TEDx U.S. and TEDx Asia. More information about Dr. Orloff’s Empathy Training Programs for businesses, The Empath Survival Guide Online Course and speaking schedule at

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