Are people who get visceral reactions to tragedy more empathetic?

Oct 23, 2013


Discussion by: InYourFaceNewYorker

When I hear about a tragedy on television– rape, murder, terrorist attack, etc.– I think, "Jeez, that's horrible!" But I do not get the kind of visceral reaction that some people do. My mother nearly cried when she found out about the 8-year-old "bride" in Yemen who was recently raped to death. My best friend sometimes cries about inexplicable acts of violence and literally loses sleep when these things happen. Both of these people have to turn away during certain disgusting or violent scenes in movies. 

Why is it that some people get visceral reactions to these things and others (like me) get largely intellectual reactions? Are the "visceral reaction people" necessarily any more empathetic than "intellectual reaction people"?

Let's discuss.

Julie

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