Can The Democrats Unify At The DNC?, International Trade’s Impact On Wisconsin, Congressional Candidate Interview, Empathy And Reason

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International trade is a major topic in this year’s presidential election, and our guest says Wisconsin is a prime example of how the issue affects people at the local level. He explains how the Trans Pacific Partnership and other trade deals could impact the state. We also talk to a Wisconsin Senator about the upcoming primary election, learn why empathy might come from our brain rather than our heart and we’ll discuss party unity at the DNC.

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  • Empathy Might Have More To Do With Logic Than Emotion, Research Finds

    The ability to empathize with people — being able to assess the feelings of others without being told explicitly what they are — has long been thought of as residing in the realm of the emotional. But in popular culture, empathy is frequently misunderstood.

    According to Regan Gurung, professor of human development and psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, many people’s assessments of their own empathetic skill is slightly overblown.

    “There are many of us who believe that we are very empathic,” Gurung said. “But the interesting thing is: Are we accurately empathetic or not? So, you may think you’re empathetic and you may think you can read someone else’s feelings, but you may not always be right.”

    And according to a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, empathy might rely more on logic and less on instinct than previously believed.

    “Your intuition, as useful as it is in so many different situations, may not be the most useful tool we have in empathetic accuracy,” Gurung said.

    One study in the paper showed the most crucial aspect in correctly assessing someone’s emotional state was systematic and deliberate thinking, Gurung said. In the study, researchers divided people into two groups and had each group respectively play up their intuitive intelligence or their critical thinking skills. When the same researchers tested which group was more empathetically accurate, the group that believed they were more systematic in their thinking were more accurate in assessing the emotions of others.

    So, does that mean if someone can think critically about the emotions of people around them, they can become more empathetic?

    Not quite, said Gurung.

    While the new research shows deliberate thinking plays a crucial part in empathy, researchers aren’t entirely sure what produces the best results. Moreover, “gut feelings,” which are usually associated with empathy, are more rooted in unconscious beliefs than we realize.

    “One of the takeaway messages is a reminder that very often we are driven by stereotypes, we may have prejudices that are operating in an unconscious way,” Gurung said. “Sometimes when we try to say, ‘What are they feeling?’ Without knowing it, we are actually relying on those stereotypes and those prejudices. That’s when that intuitional gut feeling comes in. It feels like a ‘gut feeling’, but psychologically speaking, it’s really a very automatic process.”

    Gurung said that while intuition and quick decision making serves an important purpose, slowing down and taking time can help in the long run.

  • Free-Trade Agreements Could Boost Wisconsin Economy, Tech Adviser Says

    Free-trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership could be lucrative for Wisconsin’s economy as it continues to participate in the global marketplace, according to a state tech advisor.

    Free-trade agreements like the TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have been controversial in the presidential race. Both presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have criticized the policies arguing that they hurt U.S. workers by shipping jobs overseas and stagnating wages.

    But on balance, free-trade agreements have helped Wisconsin’s businesses and producers, said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, a nonprofit organization that acts as an adviser to the state capitol on tech-oriented business.

    Agriculture, manufacturing and the growing technology sector are major Wisconsin industries that are exporting goods overseas, Still said.

    Wisconsin’s export value came out to about $22.4 billion, according to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Industrial machinery made up over a quarter of those exports.

    About 10 percent of Wisconsin’s gross product is directly tied up in international trade, according to Still.

    “So, it is a growing share, without a doubt,” he said. “It’s a significant share and rising.”

    Wisconsin’s largest trade partner by far is Canada, exporting about $7.3 billion in goods. Mexico comes in second with about $3 billion. China, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Australia follow in that order. Under the TPP, Wisconsin could increase exports to countries located in the Pacific Rim.

    Wisconsin’s international trade partners increasingly are countries that have a rising middle class or are accustomed to having quality goods, Still said.

    “We make and grow things, to get right down to it,” he said. “And, we make and grow things people want.”

    Too much economic anxiety is attributed to trade agreements, he said. In many cases, industries evolve over time or become altogether obsolete.

    “While some jobs are lost early on, I think that’s beginning to change,” he said. “We are seeing that we actually have the opposite going on right now with foreign direct investment in Wisconsin.”

    About 1,500 companies in Wisconsin participate in foreign investment at some level, which is keeping jobs here, modernizing plants and opening new markets and doors, according to Still.

  • Can The Democrats Unify At The DNC?

    As the Democratic National Convention gets underway in Philadelphia, the question of the week seems to be whether or not the Democrats can unify ahead of the general election. We’ll talk about party unity and what remains for the Sanders campaign with Clare Foran of The Atlantic.

  • Impacts The Trade Debate Could Have On Wisconsin

    Agriculture, manufacturing, and a growing tech sector are major Wisconsin industries that are part of the global marketplace. We talk to a guest about how the debate over trade deals in the presidential election could impact Wisconsin’s export economy.

  • Congressional Primary Candidate Interview: Gwen Moore

    As part of a series of Congressional primary candidate interviews, Democratic Representative Gwen Moore joins us show; she’s the incumbent the Democratic primary race to represent Wisconsin Fourth District in the Milwaukee Area.

  • The Psychology Of Empathy

    Empathy may seem like an emotional reaction that comes from the gut, but new research says that reasoning may have a lot more to do with it than we think.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Rob Ferrett Producer
  • Regan Gurung Guest
  • Tom Still Guest
  • Clare Foran Guest
  • Representative Gwen Moore Guest

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