- Emotional empathy, also called affective or primitive empathy, is a subjective state resulting from emotional contagion. It’s our automatic drive to respond appropriately to someone else’s emotions.
- Cognitive empathy is a mostly conscious drive to recognize and understand another person’s emotional state. It could be described as walking in another’s shoes. Self-management and relationship management is linked to cognitive empathy. Though emotional empathy is automatic, self-awareness and deliberate management of responses to our emotions can bring it under conscious control. Control of emotional empathy is a key skill in decision-making.
Some Empathy is Automatic, But Control Your Response
Some empathy is automatic, but response can be controlled Researchers have identified two distinct kinds of empathy in human experience — emotional empathy and cognitive empathy. Both guide our behaviors toward others and are key components of emotional intelligence. Chris Allen Thomas of the Teleos Leadership Institute explains the difference: