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Home > Events > Expanding Empathy Speaker Series: Sara Konrath, "Spread Thin"

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Expanding Empathy Speaker Series: Sara Konrath, "Spread Thin"

Sara Konrath, Assistant Professor of Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University, is the fourth speaker in the Expanding Empathy Speaker Series. In her lecture, she discusses changes over time in empathy and mental health as symptoms of societal burnout.
by Betsy VanNoy Jan 15, 2019
When Apr 04, 2019
from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
Where Memorial Lounge, Pasquerilla Spiritual Center
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Sara Konrath headshot for Expanding Empathy

Sara Konrath, Assistant Professor of Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University, is the fourth speaker in the Expanding Empathy Speaker Series. In her lecture, she discusses changes over time in empathy and mental health as symptoms of societal burnout.

Speaker Series: Expanding Empathy

Speaker: Sara Konrath

Title: Spread Thin: Changes over time in empathy and mental health as symptoms of societal burnout

Abstract: Burnout is a syndrome with three key symptoms: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment. It is usually meant to describe individual workers who are struggling to enjoy their jobs. In this talk, I will present some evidence that burnout has been increasing over time in American society. Specifically, there have been generational increases in mental health problems, decreases in empathy and social connection, and decreases in self-efficacy. I will speculate that this may be because of changes in how we spend our time, which may be driven by economic pressures.

Bio: Sara Konrath is an Assistant Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2007. Konrath is the director of the Interdisciplinary Program on Empathy and Altruism Research (iPEAR), a research lab with a primary focus on motivations, traits, and behaviors relevant to philanthropic giving, volunteering, and other prosocial behaviors. Her recent research has found that empathy has been declining in recent years among younger generations in the United States. Other research has found that people’s motives for giving have implications for their health. In her current work, she is using mobile phones to implement empathy-building programs. Her work has been published in top scientific journals and has been featured in several media outlets, including the New York Times, Huffington Post, Time Magazine, CNN, and NPR radio.

The Expanding Empathy speaker series is sponsored by the Moral Agency and Moral Development Initiative of the Rock Ethics Institute (REI) and is convened by Daryl Cameron, a core faculty member of the REI and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Penn State. 

Poster promoting the Expanding Empathy Speaker Series Spring 2019