Empathy is talked about a lot these days. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic and a divisive political climate in the United States, calls for empathy have become louder and more urgent. We encourage empathy for those inflicted with COVID-19 and those struggling with unemployment. We reminisce about the empathy of public figures who have recently passed away. Both Democrats and Republicans have highlighted their own presidential candidate’s empathy and accused the other side of lacking it.
But do we always want people to show empathy? Not so, said researchers from the University of California, Davis. A recently published paper suggests that although empathy is often portrayed as a virtue, people who express empathy are not necessarily viewed favorably.