Over time, all these Facebook posts, Instagram captions, and tweets have become a treasure trove of human thought and feeling. People might rarely look back on their dashed-off online thoughts, but if their posts are publicly accessible, they’re ripe for analysis. And some psychologists are using algorithms to figure out what exactly it is we mean by these supposedly off-the-cuff pronouncements.
This might seem like a minor distinction, but according to Lyle Ungar, one of the study’s authors, finding the difference between the two can help people in jobs that involve caring for others, such as doctors, understand when their empathy might be counter-productive. Depleting empathy can lead to burnout. “I can really care about you and not suffer with you,” Ungar says.
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