Empathy: The real star of Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’


Joy, the film’s protagonist and the leader of the emotions, is set up to be easily likable, from her Tinkerbelle-esque sprightliness to her big watchful blue eyes, but given the extent of psychological grounding for the film, her behavior is not surprising.

Studies have shown that happy individuals tend to be the worst at displaying empathy. And in a twist, those same happy individuals, like Joy, believe they’re very good at expressing it.

But it’s developing empathy and compassion—specifically the kind found through experience, even the sad kind—that provides Joy the direction they need to find their way back to Headquarters.