By Jamil Zaki
July 29, 2013
Here is an excerpt:
Evidence from across the social and natural sciences suggests that we take on others’ facial expressions, postures, moods, and even patterns of brain activity. This type of empathy is largely automatic. For instance, people imitate others’ facial expressions after just a fraction of a second, often without realizing they’re doing so. Mood contagion likewise operates under the surface. Therapists often report that, despite their best efforts, they take on patients’ moods, consistent with evidence from a number of studies.
Together, these studies suggest that instead of automatically taking on others’ emotions, people make choices about whether and how much to engage in empathy.
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