Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s feelings, and it comes in different forms. Cognitive empathy is simply recognizing how another person is feeling or thinking through verbal, tonal, and behavioral cues. Compassionate empathy is more of a developed skill, allowing us to connect with the emotions of another without taking on the full weight of those emotions ourselves. It’s often what most people mean when they refer to empathy or say someone is an “empathetic person.” Emotional empathy is physically reflecting how another person is feeling: if you see someone feeling upset, you also feel the same upset in your own body. It can tune us in deeply to another’s pain, but it can also paralyze us from effectively helping. Some call those who experience emotional empathy “empaths.” Some empaths also deal with hyper-empathy, feeling what others feel so acutely that it becomes unmanageable or disorienting.


Empathy is the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another person, animal, or fictional character. Developing empathy is crucial for establishing relationships and behaving compassionately.

Empathy 101

Daniel Goleman looks at three types of empathy that leaders, teachers, and parents should have.

What Is Empathy?

Empathy is the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place. Essentially, it is putting yourself in someone else's position and feeling what they must be feeling.

Six Habits of Highly Empathic People

We can cultivate empathy throughout our lives, says Roman Krznaric—and use it as a radical force for social transformation.

Empathy Is the Most Important Leadership Skill

You always knew demonstrating empathy is positive for people, but new research demonstrates its importance for everything from innovation to retention.

Understanding Others’ Feelings: What Is Empathy and Why Do We Need It?

Empathy is the ability to share and understand the emotions of others. It is a construct of multiple components, each of which is associated with its own brain network. There are three ways of looking at empathy.

Hot to Help

We often emphasize the importance of keeping cool in a crisis. But sometimes coolness can give way to detachment and apathy.

Empathy: Overrated?

Be kind, show understanding, do good—but, some scientists say, don’t try to feel others’ pain.

How to Be More Empathetic

More and more, we live in bubbles. Most of us are surrounded by people who look like us, vote like us, earn like us, spend money like us, have educations like us and worship like us. The result is an empathy deficit, and it’s at the root of many of our biggest problems.

Why Your Brain Loves Kindness

If you’re familiar to meditation, then you’ve probably tried a basic loving-kindness practice. It involves bringing to mind someone you love, and wishing that they are safe, well, and happy—either out loud or to yourself.