V Международная студенческая научная конференция Студенческий научный форум - 2013


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Empathy shows the subjective world of the individual, because it is based on his/her abilities to feel, understand and adequately assess the communication partner. Empathy in communication manifests itself in the desire to feel the state of the partner. The interlocutors may have various reasons to do that especially if they belong to different cultures. Sometimes a person has difficulty in understanding the words, the tone or style of communication. Sometimes a person disguises his/her feelings in conventional words, that’s why he/she fails to express them in a clear way. Sometimes a listener can’t grasp the intention of the speaker who begins the interaction with some digression from the topic. Therefore in cross-cultural communication in order to understand the communicative behavior of the representatives of other cultures one should regard this behavior as part of their culture. Empathic attitude to the interlocutor means mental, intellectual and emotional penetration into the inner world of the partner, into his feelings, thoughts, expectations and aspirations. Empathy is based on the assumption that all people have approximately the same feelings and emotions in the same circumstances and alter-egoism allows them to understand someone else’s points of view, ideas, and various cultural events. Therefore, understanding the other necessarily means understanding one's own self. Trying to know themselves, people observe their own actions and states associated with them, and then they interpret their behavior and attach a certain importance to it. Based on this experience a person tries to judge the inner state and feelings of others by analogy with his/her state and feelings. Thus people attribute the states which they have gone through to their communication partner. The humanitarian science has devised special methods by which people can become more sensitive to the feelings of each other. One of such methods is the method of adjustment, which is often used by those who are trying to understand the state of another person. It lies in the fact that you should try to adapt to your partner as close as possible by imitating his/her external behavior: accept a similar posture, copy the speech rate, etc. Studies have shown that if a person manages to do this, then he/she fathoms the interlocutor’s feelings and experiences and becomes capable of understanding his/her behavior. The change in style of communication is faster during unstressed, calm communication or in cases where the partners are positive about each other. For example, when dealing with a foreigner, we can speak more slowly, clearly and distinctly, use less slang vocabulary, facilitating the communication for the speaker.
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