Graeme Newell

The Identifiable Victim Effect: How It Lures Us to Feel Compassion for the Wrong People


It’s a time when our brain consistently makes BAD choices. Researchers tell us that our tired little cranium tends to seriously misstep whenever we envision LARGE things. All of us can clearly picture 6 inches in our mind, but ask us to contemplate 10,000 miles and the mental image becomes frustratingly fuzzy.

What most of us don’t realize is that our incompetence at envisioning large things also makes us terrible at comprehending SUFFERING.

This is the IDENTIFIABLE VICTIM EFFECT. Our brain is hardwired to feel compassion for INDIVIDUALS, not GROUPS of individuals. When the scale of suffering gets too large, our brain simply can’t process it.

Watch this short video and learn to recognize the specific situations when we’re most likely to feel compassion for the wrong people.