Cultural Conformity

When a culture has a value system, like valuing empathy, people tend to conform to that value. So having an explicit cultural value of empathy would help foster empathy. How can we create that explicit value of empathy in a culture? The Charter for Compassion has has people, organizations and governments sign the charter which says compassion is important. The empathy movement could create a charter like this.
  • In schools a charter for empathy  or some values statement could be signed by all members of the school.
  • In families there can be a family values agreement.
  • etc.

"Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms. Norms are implicit, unsaid rules, shared by a group of individuals, that guide their interactions with others."

Kindness Contagion: Witnessing kindness inspires kindness, causing it to spread like a virus
Jamil Zak
"The battle between dark and light conformity likely depends on which cultural norms people witness most often. Someone who is surrounded by grandstanding and antagonism will tend towards hostile and exclusionary attitudes herself.

Someone who instead learns that her peers prize empathy will put more work to empathize herself, even with people who are different from her. By emphasizing empathy-positive norms, we may be able to leverage the power of social influence to combat apathy and conflict in new ways. And right now, when it comes to mending ideological divides and cultivating kindness, we need every strategy we can find."

Social Norms Shift Behavioral and Neural Responses to Foods
Erik C. Nook and Jamil Zaki