Summary #1356

Empathy and perspective taking: How social skills are built

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  • Study examines the brain mechanisms behind empathy (understanding emotions) and perspective taking (understanding points of view).
  • Researchers identified core brain areas behind empathy and perspective, and found that other brain areas are also involved depending on how we’re communicating.
  • If we’re reading emotions from facial expressions, different sub-areas are involved than if we’re judging their actions, or their words, and so on.
  • Researchers also found that complex social problems require a combination of empathy and perspective taking - both skills are strong in socially competent people.
  • Plus, a single test is probably not enough to tell if someone lacks empathy, because they might just not be able to read faces or hear emotions in voice.

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