When Empathy Fails

Humans brains are very attuned to what others are thinking, feeling, and planning—but a new book explores when our “mindreading” powers can lead us astray.

….Quick judgments about people like these is what social-psychologist Nicholas Epley warns against in his new book, Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want….

Our tendency to exaggerate perceived differences between people based on little evidence can get us into trouble.


For example, researchers have found

that women tend to be more empathic

than men when given empathy tests.


But the difference is relatively small—in fact, much smaller than differences found within groups of men or women. Yet exaggerating this finding and making more of it than it merits can lead women to stereotype men as unsympathetic or “from Mars.”

By Jill Suttie