Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Empathy and violence have similar circuits in the brain, research suggests

Date:
April 11, 2010
Source:
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Summary:
Researchers in Spain have investigated the brain structures involved with empathy -- in other words, the ability to put oneself in another person's position -- and carried out a scientific review of them. They conclude that the brain circuits responsible for empathy are in part the same as those involved with violence.

Researchers from the University of Valencia (UV) have investigated the brain structures involved with empathy -- in other words, the ability to put oneself in another person's position -- and carried out a scientific review of them. They conclude that the brain circuits responsible for empathy are in part the same as those involved with violence.

"Just as our species could be considered the most violent, since we are capable of serial killings, genocide and other atrocities, we are also the most empathetic species, which would seem to be the other side of the coin," says Luis Moya Albiol, lead author of the study and a researcher at the UV.

This study, published in the most recent issue of the Revista de Neurología, concludes that the prefrontal and temporal cortex, the amygdala and other features of the limbic system (such as insulin and the cingulated cortex) play "a fundamental role in all situations in which empathy appears."

Moya Albiol says these parts of the brain overlap "in a surprising way" with those that regulate aggression and violence. As a result, the scientific team argues that the cerebral circuits -- for both empathy and violence -- could be "partially similar."

"We all know that encouraging empathy has an inhibiting effect on violence, but this may not only be a social question but also a biological one -- stimulation of these neuronal circuits in one direction reduces their activity in the other," the researcher adds.

This means it is difficult for a "more empathetic" brain to behave in a violent way, at least on a regular basis. "Educating people to be empathetic could be an education for peace, bringing about a reduction in conflict and belligerent acts," the researcher concludes.

Techniques for measuring the human brain in vivo, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, are making it possible to find out more about the structures of the brain that regulate behaviour and psychological processes such as empathy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Moya-Albiol, L., Herrero, N. y Bernal, M.C. Bases neuronales de la empatía. Revista de Neurología, 2010; 50 (2): 89-100

Cite This Page:

FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Empathy and violence have similar circuits in the brain, research suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409093405.htm>.
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. (2010, April 11). Empathy and violence have similar circuits in the brain, research suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409093405.htm
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Empathy and violence have similar circuits in the brain, research suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409093405.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins