Life's First Feelings Character Analysis

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“Put yourself in their shoes” is a phrase commonly used, but what does it mean? It encompasses the capacity to which one can empathise with another’s situation or emotional state. Empathy can be defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. There are many contributing factors that influence an individual’s capability to feel empathy. In addition, this ability is developed, refined, and influenced throughout the lifespan. Many of the topics we discussed throughout the semester highlight the influences on how a person forms empathy and to what level of complexity and depth a given individual experiences empathy. Mainly, in the film Life’s First feelings, which discusses studies on empathy in infancy. Empathy is cultivated …show more content…

These emotions cannot develop prior to this point because a sense of self must first be cultivated for higher order social emotions to build upon. In his experiment, Lewis marked children’s noses with a touch of rouge and put them in front of a mirror. If the child has formed a self-construct, they will identify that something is odd about their appearance and will express embarrassment. If the child has not yet developed a self-construct, the altered appearance will go unnoticed. Lewis (as cited in Hakim-Larson, 2018), also states that meta-awareness of our own reflection is required to engage in emotional experiences with others. Meta-awareness is achieved through maturation of the brain overtime. Thus, an infant cannot share another’s feelings since they do not have a sense of identity to compare …show more content…

However, since the children looked to their mother to react to the upset confederate, it appears that the child can only label basic emotion such as sadness in others and want to help them. This does not necessarily indicate that the child is sharing in the confederate’s sadness. Therefore, the child has displayed sympathy but not empathy. Albeit, this observation is still significant in the growth of a child’s emotional and social development. If a child is not able to identify that a given stranger is distraught or is unable to take action to help the stranger, it may indicate difficulties in identifying complex emotion in human faces. Furthermore, it was interesting that empathy, or a lack of, is socialized through emulation of parental behaviour and can be seen so early in childhood. This was demonstrated by children reacting to others’ distress in the same manner to which their caregiver reacted to the child’s

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