Commentary

Upworthy's Experiment In Measuring Empathy In Real Time

In the aftermath of last week’s presidential election, Upworthy, a company that showcases stories that might not otherwise be told, invited New Yorkers to #UpYourEmpathy at its pop-up Empathy Lab in Madison Square Park.

The goal? To celebrate the power and role of empathy to break down preconceived barriers. The company said the event on Nov. 15 received 23 million social impressions. Event participants were monitored with facial-recognition software that scientifically mapped emotional reactions while they watched various pieces of video content. Within two minutes, their empathy score flashed on a big screen.

The real-time findings from the event:

--Women registered significantly higher empathy scores overall vs. men, with the female average 86 vs. the male average 81 on a scale of 1 to 100.

---As a group, young females had the highest average empathy scores, with females ages 25 to 34 averaging 88 and females ages 35 to 44 averaging 86. Wonder whether Upworthy measured men and woman over the age of 44?

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--The average empathy score of parents was significantly higher than non-parents: 87 vs. 81 respectively.

Upworthy also released a study showing empathy’s ability to immediately impact engagement and behavior. The study found that watching content designed to evoke empathy resulted in a 97% lift in awareness of the issue, 58% lift in likelihood to share information, and a 3.5x lift in likelihood to raise awareness or money.

In a time when everything’s uncertain, knowing that our fellow citizens have some empathy is a positive thing.

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