Psychopathy is an area of psychological study that will forever fascinate the public, but the opposite end of the spectrum can be just as interesting. Over the course of decades, research has turned up all kinds of weird facts about empathy – where it’s regulated, how it works, and what makes some people hide their faces in agony during medical documentaries while others chill out on the couch, stone-faced and more than a little judgmental. You know how you can tell they’re judgmental? Empathy. Also, they’re probably making fun of you.
The capacity for empathy varies from person to person – people with psychopathy, for instance, are infamous for their ability to switch it on and off at will – but virtually everyone can feel empathy to some extent.
And so, without further ado, here are seven facts about empathy to trot out at parties.
– Claire Warner