The term “empathy” is used to describe a wide range of experiences.Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. … “Cognitive empathy,” sometimes called “perspective taking,” refers to our ability to identify and understand other people’s emotions.
Have you ever felt that someone doesn’t have the same feelings toward you as you have toward them or struggled to predict how you will act when you are angry about something, if we’re currently calm or unable to feel the same pain which other person is undergoing when you are at peace and can only think rationally?
Yes, this happens when we misjudge our own emotions or behaviour and this is what Empathy Gap is all about.
Empathy Gap means when you are in certain mental state for example happy or angry, you are unable to understand the perspective or predict the action of someone who is in a different mental state. For example if you are on diet and currently full, the empathy gap will unable you to access how well you will be able to handle the temptation to eat when you are hungry.
Empathy Gap is one of the cognitive bias where a person finds it difficult to understand their mental state which is different from their present mental state or struggle to understand how such states effect people’s decision making.
Therefore I won’t be wrong in saying that empathy gap has serious implications when it comes to interpreting and predicting people’s behavior, including your own, so it’s imperative to understand it so that we know how to deal with it.
Empathy gap can appear in variety of situations
- When it comes to misjudging our own emotions and behaviours . Lets understand this with few examples, When a person is calm, they overestimates their ability to stay composed in stressful situation or when a person no longer have feelings for another person they generally underestimate how much their feelings for that person affected their judgment in the past.
- When it comes to misjudging the behaviour and emotions of others . Here a person struggle to understand why someone who is nervous about something acted the way that they did, if we don’t share their feelings on the topic or struggle to see that someone doesn’t necessarily have the same feelings toward us as we have toward them.