We now recognize empathy as the driving force behind much of human behavior, from social bonding and prenatal care to morality and human rights activism. Only recently, however, have we come to conceptualize empathy as a driving force for learning (and we’re not talking emotional intelligence here)…So there you have it–people who receive empathy from others, especially from an early age, develop a higher capacity to learn. Part of the reason for this is that empathy is an especially effective antidote to stress. In humans, stress negatively affects learning and brain development in children, mostly affecting the prefrontal cortex which manages non-cognitive skills like self-control along with memory and reasoning. Poor children, who are at greater risk of adverse childhood experiences, are disproportionately affected. Read more from informEd.