“Cultivating successful personal and professional relationships requires the ability to accurately infer the feelings of others – that is, to be empathically accurate. Some are better at this than others, a difference that may be explained in part by mode of thought,” said Jennifer Lerner, PhD, of Harvard University, a co-author of the study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
“Until now, however, little was known about which mode of thought, intuitive versus systematic, offers better accuracy in perceiving another’s feelings.”
Individuals process information and make decisions in different ways, according to Lerner. Some choose to follow their instincts and go with what feels right to them (i.e., intuitive) while others plan carefully and analyze the information available to them before deciding (i.e., systematic)
Christine Ma-Kellams et al. Trust Your Gut or Think Carefully? Examining Whether an Intuitive, Versus a Systematic, Mode of Thought Produces Greater Empathic Accuracy, SSRN Electronic Journal (2016). DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2782596