Empathy is one of the most important skills that we should have. It is useful not only in our personal lives but also in our professional ones. We need to understand each other and be full of compassion, as well as empathy while working together. Anna Poręba, shared her knowledge about the behavioral science point of view on empathy.
The basis of empathy in our brain is the mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are responsible for creating empathy without humans even having to think about it. In psychology, we talk about two kinds of empathy.
Affective empathy is when your emotional state depends on the emotional state of the person you are communicating with. So in a way, you feel the same way the other person feels. For example, if a person you are speaking with were to drink water, you might also get thirsty.
Cognitive empathy is when we rationally know and understand what another person is feeling and we do not judge. And we are able to see the world through another person's eyes, which takes a great deal of imagination for us to be able to do so.
Our mirror neurons send the information into our superior temporal cortex. And then this information, this stimulus, goes down through to our insula, which is our limbic system.
This is why sometimes, we feel bodily reactions faster. Then, after we had realized the way we are feeling, it then goes back into our cortex, in the middle part of our prefrontal cortex. And this is where we can really consciously acknowledge what we are feeling.
Empathy is a skill set that brings compassion to life.