What if Trump is actually a master of empathy?
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Richard A Friedman/卫报
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‘Trump made a strong empathic connection with his supporters.’ Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

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摄影:Brendan Smialowski /AFP/Getty Images

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Many Americans see President Trump’s preoccupation with the protesting NFL athletes – and his near silence on the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico – as evidence that Trump has no empathy. Wrong.心理学空间E'A9T;d `v0K

p4P P x6xxl!?0许多美国人认为特朗普总统念念不忘于橄榄球运动员的抗议,而且他沉默于最近在波多黎各展开的人道主义危机,人们以这些为依据来证明特朗普不具同理心。这是错误的。

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Actually, Trump is a master of empathy. Most people confuse empathy with sympathy and don’t understand the nature – or power – of empathy. There is nothing necessarily nice about empathy, which is essentially the ability to imagine and intuit how other people think and feel.

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It has nothing to do with genuinely identifying with others or actually feeling their pain; that would be sympathy. Instead, empathy is really about having an accurate theory of mind of other people – and getting under their skin.心理学空间$Kp6DNI$A)U

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Trump has lots of empathy. What he doesn’t have is sympathy – he doesn’t really feel badly for other people. He is not using his considerable empathy skills for Puerto Rico for a simple reason: they are not his base and he has little interest in them.


utjL T:^yC0特朗普很有共情心。他没有同情心——他并不觉得对不起别人。在波多黎各飓风灾害上,他并没有利用他可观的共情技能,其原因很简单:波多黎各不是他们的根据地,他对他们没有什么兴趣。心理学空间G.\WH]^ejN.f

All successful politicians have unusually high levels of empathy. That is what makes their supporters feel and believe that they are understood, regardless of the true motives of the political figure.

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The same is true of successful demagogues and psychopaths who have an uncanny ability to read the mind of their victims in order to manipulate and control them. Thus, depending on the moral compass of a leader, empathy could be a very positive or very destructive force.心理学空间J7X'dE![(l'ub2|,T

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Trump made a strong empathic connection with his supporters by acknowledging their pain and economic hardship and by promising to Make America (and by extension, them) Great Again. How? It hardly mattered once he made people feel he understood and liked them, something far more effective than policy details.

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特朗普承认支持者们经济困境的痛苦,并承诺使美国(以及他们)再次伟大起来,通过这些 ,他与他的支持者建立了强烈的共情链接。这是如何产生的呢?答案是:一旦他让人们觉得他理解他们,并且喜欢他们,一切就都好说了,这比政策细节更为有效。

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But there is an extra twist to what Trump has done when it comes to empathy that helps us understand not only his success, but the puzzling and enduring loyalty of his core supporters, many of whom are unemployed, angry and stressed.

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但是,特朗普在共情方面所做的事情有一个特别的扭曲,这不仅帮助我们理解了他的成功,也让我们了解了他的核心支持者的困惑和持久的忠诚,他们中的许多人都失业了,愤怒并压力重重。心理学空间 K3iYeQw/K

Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, they still believe he will deliver on his campaign promises because the empathic connection he’s made with them, which emphasizes fear and threat, is psychologically and neurobiologically much more powerful than mere facts. Why?

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Studies of humans and other animals show that chronic stress tends to makes us more fearful while at the same time less critical and analytical in our thinking.

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The reason is that chronic stress is toxic to the prefrontal cortex, which is the brain’s reasoner-in-chief and allows us to rationally evaluate evidence, among other things. In response to chronic stress, neurons in our prefrontal cortex shrink and, as a direct result, we lose some of our ability for flexible and critical thinking.心理学空间M4Z-`~@o6x


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In stark contrast, chronic stress causes neurons in the amygdala, the seat of anxiety and fear in the brain, to get larger and more active, increasing a sensation of danger.心理学空间+Rh(BlZ3C

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(Both these effects are usually reversible so long as the stress is not too severe or prolonged.)




Is it any surprise, then, that a fair chunk of President Trump’s core base – people who are probably chronically stressed – would be particularly receptive to “information” that conveys a sense of threat and more likely to dismiss reasoned argument and real facts as fake news?

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There is a clear adaptive advantage to being vigilant and anxious in the face of real danger. But you want to be able to dial down your fear once the danger has passed – or you discover there was little danger to start with – so that you have greater access to your critical faculties.心理学空间f$z+|(v ^? B




That is exactly what President Trump is hoping his core supporters never get around to. From the moment of his inaugural speech where he declared that “this American carnage stops right here and stops right now” to the present, he never misses an opportunity to remind his base of their supposed enemies, be it Muslims or the liberal media, with a histrionic sense of threat and fear.心理学空间 y@ [#k)G ZT

d%|&M p0Ab0这正是特朗普总统希望他的核心支持者永远回避的部分。在他的就职演讲中,他宣称“我们国家中的这些屠杀行为将永远在此地结束,”结束在此刻。他从会不错过勾起支持者猜测的敌人机会,不管是穆斯林还是自由媒体,都带着戏剧性的威胁感和恐惧感。心理学空间,U:edbCsZ@

So long as Trump continues to stoke his supporters’ fear, he strengthens their loyalty. It also explains, in part, why President Trump has been so eager to provide his base with convenient human scapegoats for their predicament.心理学空间/Q(F"[:Dt3F)E}




After all, if you are angry about having lost your job, it is far more emotionally satisfying to blame an immigrant than the likely truth, which is that you lost your job to automation or a shift in the nature of the economy – an abstract explanation without a human target for your anger.心理学空间ecs pbayA

o;I4cV3hRM XLF zG0毕竟,如果你愤怒于自己失去了工作,那么责备一个移民在情绪上获得的满足要远远大于可能的事实。这样,你失去工作的事实就会自动化切换到经济的本质之上了,经济的本质是一个抽象的解释,你的愤怒在这里找不到人性上的目标。心理学空间 rK?N&`W6^-KC

The disturbing truth is that we are most vulnerable to being exploited by an empathic demagogue like President Trump when we are stressed and anxious. In that state, we are hard-wired to favor fear over reason.心理学空间2X B I%El)?)u



Richard A Friedman is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Cornell Medical College


Richard A Friedman是康奈尔医学院的临床精神病学教授心理学空间;uo9d.au5h` yC

TAG: 共情 特朗普
«我们是否高估了心理治疗的效果? 科普
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作者: Richard A Friedman / 1135次阅读
时间: 2017年10月11日
来源: 陈明 编译
标签: 共情 特朗普
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