[Source: Psych Central]
Empathy, the ability to understand the feelings of others, has long been hailed as a virtue that encourages helping behaviors. But a new study finds that many people don’t want to feel empathy, primarily because they believe it requires too much mental effort.
The findings remain true even when feeling empathy would elicit good feelings or would require no actual effort, such as offering help or money.
“There is a common assumption that people stifle feelings of empathy because they could be depressing or costly, such as making donations to charity,” said lead researcher C. Daryl Cameron, PhD, an assistant psychology professor from Penn State University.
“But we found that people primarily just don’t want to make the mental effort to feel empathy toward others, even when it involves feeling positive emotions.”