We tend to think of empathy as an automatic process - something that happens naturally when we interact with people in need. However, this assumption is not always correct. We frequently experience lapses in empathy when relating to others is difficult, or makes us upset or uncomfortable. Across several studies, Karina Schumann, Jamil Zaki, and Carol Dweck explore when and why this empathy breakdown occurs, and what predicts whether people will exert effort to experience empathy these situations. They discover that people's beliefs about the malleability of empathy (whether or not empathy can be developed), play an integral role in the decision to exert effort to experience in challenging contexts. For a full list of our lab's publications, click here.