Originally posted 24 June 20
Here is an excerpt:
Types of empathy
Empathy is more about looking for a common humanity, while sympathy entails feeling pity for someone's pain or suffering, Konrath said.
"Whereas empathy is the ability to perceive accurately what another person is feeling, sympathy is compassion or concern stimulated by the distress of another," Lerner said. "A common example of empathy is accurately detecting when your child is afraid and needs encouragement. A common example of sympathy is feeling sorry for someone who has lost a loved one."
A "common mistake is to leap into sympathy before empathically understanding what another person is feeling," Lerner said. Two types of empathy can prevent that relationship blunder.
Emotional empathy, sometimes called compassion, is more intuitive and involves care and concern for others.
Cognitive empathy requires effort and more systematic thinking, so it may lead to more empathic accuracy, Lerner said. It entails considering others' and their perspectives and imagining what it's like to be them, Konrath added.
Some work managers and colleagues, for example, have had to practice empathy for parents juggling remote work with child care and virtual learning duties, said David Anderson, senior director of national programs and outreach at the Child Mind Institute…. But since the outset of the pandemic in March, that empathy has faded — reflecting the notion that cognitive empathy does take effort.
It takes work to interpret what someone is feeling by all of his cues: facial expressions, tones of voice, posture, words and more. Then you have to connect those cues with what you know about him and the situation in order to accurately infer his feelings.
"This kind of inference is a highly complex social-cognitive task" that might involve a variation of mental processes, Lerner said.
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