Why even hardest hearts melt
Researchers seem to have found out the reason behind why even the hardest heart sometimes melts.
Research has shown that when we put ourselves into someone else's shoes, the part of the brain used for cold and hard analysis gets suppressed.
The finding could explain why even highly-intelligent people get taken in by sob stories.
For the study, US scientists scanned the brain of 45 young men and women as they solved problems.
Half of the questions required them to think about how others might feel and half were based on physics.
When lying in the scanner with nothing to do, their brain cycled between a region associated with empathising and one linked to analysis, but when asked to think about others, the empathy network fired up and the analytical one was turned down.
The reverse occurred when given physics to do, in other words, it is difficult to empathise and analyse at the same time.
"This is a cognitive function we've evolved," the Daily Mail quoted Anthony Jack from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio as saying.
"Empathetic and analytic thinking are, at least to some extent, mutually exclusive in the brain," he said.
This could explain why even the smartest people get taken in by tales spun by conmen - with the empathetic part of their brain hard at work, the side that would expose flaws in the story can't do its job.
However, some people rely too much on one type of thinking.
For instance, hard-headed business leaders can be oblivious to the human cost of their actions.
"You want the CEO of a company to be highly analytical in order to run a company efficiently, otherwise it will go out of business," Jack said.
"But you can lose your moral compass if you get stuck in an analytical way of thinking.
"You'll never get by without both networks. You don't have to favour one, but cycle efficiently between them, and employ the right network at the same time," he added.
The study has been published in the journal NeuroImage.