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Judgement: Bad Moral Guide


Customer service reps are often taught to be empathic, to put themselves in the customer's shoes. But research suggests empathy isn't the skill you're looking for.
Distorted judgment
"Bloom also points out that when motivated by empathy, our actions may lack reason.
Imagine a service error produces a storm of angry clients demanding compensation. When guided by empathy, customer service agents will be more likely to offer compensation to those who clearly shows their emotions (e.g. by crying) than to those who calmly explain their story.

To prevent this unequal customer treatment, service reps should be guided by something else than empathy."



4 questions for Paul Bloom
In a new book, Bloom argues that empathy leads us astray when we rely on it to make moral decisions
By Lea Winerman
May 2017,
"If empathy is not a good guide to solving moral problems, what is?

We need people to apply moral principles of right and justice, and make some sort of utilitarian calculations of costs and benefits. For example, we can recognize that it's sad if a little girl dies from a reaction to a vaccine, but if removing the vaccine from the market will cause 100 kids to die, then we have to keep the vaccine. I think emotions play a necessary role in motivating us to do certain things, but decisions should be made through rational means."


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