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Our society values empathy as an essential trait. Having consideration and something more than sympathy for the plights of others helps us feel connected to fellow humans. For some of us, though, considering others’ feelings doesn’t just cause us to shake our heads; some individuals feel the joy or pain that others are experiencing. These people are empaths. Such a psychological phenomenon is difficult to pin down with scientific data, so viewpoints vary widely. Since empathy is an emerging area of research, objective evidence is scarce. Unravel the enigma of the empath with these expert insights.

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1. Are Empaths Real?

The concept and definition of the empath have sparked immense interest and debate among neuroscientists, psychologists, and internet experts. The American Empath Association defines empaths as people who can detect the thoughts and feelings of other people, places, animals, or objects. Empaths not only discern these emotional states and physical feelings; they absorb them as well. The AEA states that this innate ability “defies conventional science and psychology.”

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