Emotional sympathy vs. Cognitive appreciation
Just read some interesting negotiation technique, yet a quite dangerous mode of thinking.
There’s a difference between a cognitive appreciation of what someone else wants and a sympathetic emotional reaction to what they want. What we’ve shown in our research is that sympathy creates concessionary behaviour. Sympathy leads to worse distributive outcomes because you either get exploited for your sympathy or you give things up on your own as a way to make yourself feel better. What perspective taking allows you to do is not just get blindsided by your own emotional sympathy, but to really recognize what the other person wants and to ask yourself cognitively, “How can I offer that to them in a way that doesn’t cause me a lot of pain?”
Use perspective taking, not empathy: Understand their needs but don’t feel their needs.