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How to Mix Compassion and Cooperation Into Social Distancing

David DeSteno: Our research into how people respond to adversity has shown that many of those who experienced natural disasters, serious illness, and loss of loved ones became more compassionate toward others in response to these tragedies. The tricky part with the COVID-19 crisis is that it’s scrambling the ways we normally experience compassion and cooperation. Social distancing means we can’t lend a shoulder to cry on; we can’t come together in person to help out older, more vulnerable people; we can’t go out to support our local restaurants and shops. While this situation could lead to a feeling of hopelessness, or even nihilism, I’ve been heartened to see people finding creative ways to adapt.

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