Systematic reasoning plays a key role in showing empathy

Washington, July 23 (IANS) Showing empathy comes more out of careful reasoning instead of gut intuition, new research has revealed.

According to the study, systematic reasoning appears to beat intuition for recognising emotions in others.

“Cultivating successful personal and professional relationships requires the ability to accurately infer the feelings of others – that is, to be empathically accurate. Some are better at this than others, a difference that may be explained in part by mode of thought,” said Jennifer Lerner, Researcher, Harvard University in the study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

According to the researcher, individuals process information and make decisions in different ways. Some choose to follow their instincts and go with what feels right to them (i.e., intuitive), while others plan carefully and analyse the information available to them before deciding (i.e., systematic).

The researchers conducted four studies, involving over 900 participants, to examine the relationship between the two modes of thought and empathetic accuracy.

The first determined that most people believe intuition is a better guide than systematic thinking to accurately infer other’s thoughts and feelings.

However, the other three studies found that the opposite is true, revealed the study.

“These findings are important because they show that commonly held assumptions about what makes someone a good emotional mind reader may be wrong,” added Lerner.

–IANS

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