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Richard A Friedman 2017-10-11
陈明 编译
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心理学空间c+q1t#ICq'z

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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.


+t(n#X0p+{qjy0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。心理学空间 i!e3Zkm$H

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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y}gqQ n0事实上,特朗普是一位共情大师。大多数人混淆了共情和同情,不理解共情的本质或力量。共情不一定是好的,本质上,共情是想象和凭直觉知道他人所思所感的能力。

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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.

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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.心理学空间}+\%}u6i*]


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.


7WK#w P&Zv0所有成功政治家的共情水平都非常高。这让他们的支持者觉得自己被理解,并且相信自己被理解,而不管政治人物的真正动机是什么。

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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 ^M ?fd

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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。心理学空间(L_5_0Y FEg

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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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?


2]h qpa"}.O0尽管有许多相反的证据表明,他们仍然相信他会履行他的竞选诺言,由于强调恐惧与威胁,特朗普与他们产生了共情的连接,这些在心理学上和神经生物学上比仅有的事实更强大。为什么?

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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.心理学空间NSj"i`Y8z0Cn{

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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.



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.


.`!X A$A'Y/?w0与此形成鲜明对比的是,长期慢性的压力会导致杏仁核中的神经元——大脑中焦虑和恐惧的所在地——变得更大、更活跃,从而感觉到了危险的增加。心理学空间,`LmGyqPb

(Both these effects are usually reversible so long as the stress is not too severe or prolonged.)心理学空间)S.Uh0aID0g/L,DU#@



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?心理学空间'x7AZ_ az



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.

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z i7mS+LtL%Ixe0在真正的危险面前保持警惕和焦虑的优势是其清晰的适应性。但是,一旦危险过去,你希望能够降低你的恐惧感,或者你发现,一开始时就没有什么危险,这样你就有更多的机会开启你的批判能力。心理学空间0}Bm8C)Ntas

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.


a-| g!Y$g0这正是特朗普总统希望他的核心支持者永远回避的部分。在他的就职演讲中,他宣称“我们国家中的这些屠杀行为将永远在此地结束,”结束在此刻。他从会不错过勾起支持者猜测的敌人机会,不管是穆斯林还是自由媒体,都带着戏剧性的威胁感和恐惧感。心理学空间u!y7F$Z#y"x}CeIP

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i:YIW0V3] X



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 zMc*w/T,Y




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.


2OVj kg8d{-Fa8}&E0令人不安的事实是:当我们处在压力和焦虑中时,我们最容易被这种像特朗普总统的共情煽动者利用。在那种状态下,我们硬要找理由来战胜恐惧。

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Richard A Friedman is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Cornell Medical College心理学空间@8\;N f [1tP]

Richard A Friedman是康奈尔医学院的临床精神病学教授心理学空间:C @:Pg'P5]\ v,?


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