Systems thinking is a cognitive style involving an implicit tendency to perceive the social‐ecological world as a multitude of interconnected complex adaptive systems. Previous research has shown that systems thinkers value and care for entities that transcend the self, such as other human beings and nature, signalling a more expansive self‐concept. Similarly, individuals high in empathy have an inclusive self‐concept, a stronger proenvironmental identity and value entities beyond themselves. The present study examined the hypothesis that systems thinking would share a positive relation with components of cognitive and affective empathy. Results from an online survey of 135 undergraduate students demonstrated that systems thinking shared significant positive correlations with perspective taking, empathic concern and fantasy. However, only perspective taking and empathic concern emerged as unique significant positive predictors of systems thinking. Results suggest that systems thinkers express an elevated capacity for the allocentric components of cognitive and affective empathy. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Systems Research & Behavioral Science – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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