Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

The Future of Empathy: A Psychology Professor on How Immersive Stories Could Help Spark a More Empathetic World

March 14 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

$25 Ally Price: FREE

Are we losing our ability to understand each other? To be sensitive to the experiences of those who are different from us? Concerns about the decline of empathy and the rise of division have built over recent years — though of course, the evidence for these shifts is nuanced and complicated.

At the heart of this global discussion is the role of media. And while some may point to new forms of media — particularly social media — as accelerators of empathy decline, recent research is unveiling that some media may, in fact, boost empathy.

For the last two decades, Dr. Raymond A. Mar, a professor of psychology at York University, has been studying the role of reading in shaping our minds — including a seminal study on how immersive fiction narratives can increase empathy in readers.

In “The Future of Empathy,” Dr. Mar will share how social scientists measure empathy and track its shifts. He’ll discuss the theoretical reasons why engaging with immersive stories may help foster empathy — and then explore the growing empirical evidence backing these hypotheses.

The full promise of immersive narratives could be anything from stopping empathy decline to reversing it, to creating a world that’s more empathetic than ever before. And if narratives could do the latter, what might that world look like?



Dr. Raymond A. Mar received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and is currently a professor of psychology at York University. His lab investigates how imagined experiences affect how we think, feel, and behave in the real world, with a particular focus on how stories engage our imagination. This includes novels, television shows, video games, and other forms of narrative.

Dr. Mar also has an active interest in teaching research methods and statistics, having authored the 4th Canadian Edition of Methods in Behavioral Research. He received the Tom Trabasso Young Investigator award from the Society for Text and Discourse, the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany, and was the Fulbright Canada Research Chair at the University of Southern California’s Center for Public Diplomacy for 2023. In 2024, he will be a Radboud Excellence Professor in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, at Radboud University.


Dr. Raymond A. Mar
March 14
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:




Hidden Compass
View Organizer Website


Dr. Raymond A. Mar
Alliance Price