|neurophysiology of sympathy
:: patterns of brain activity
Neuroscientists trying to tease out the mechanisms underlying the basis of human sympathy have
found that such feelings trigger brain activity not only in areas associated with emotion but
also in areas associated with performing an action. But, when people act in socially inappropriate
ways this activity is replaced by increased activity in regions associated with social conflict.
Understanding the neurophysiology of such basic human characteristics as sympathy is important
because some people lack those feelings and may behave in anti-social ways that can be extremely
costly to society, said Dr. Jean Decety, the lead author of the new study. In the study, Decety
and Thierry Chaminade used positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
"Sympathy is a very basic way in which we are connected to other people," said Decety.
"We feel more sympathy if the person we are interacting with is more like us. When people
act in strange ways, you feel that person is not like you." >from "Search
for sympathy uncovers patterns of brain activity*, december 2, 2002.
> human cooperation:
biological basis revealed. july 19, 2002
> brain's pattern
perception in artificial world: rise to maladaptive superstitions. april 10, 2002
> beauty perception
and desire: philosophy and neuroscience. november 16, 2001
> research on emotion.
april 24, 2001
> technology and evolution:
what makes us humans. march 13, 2001