Joy to the World – Empathy and Positive Emotions

Empathy is the ability to perceive and react to another person’s emotions.


Much attention has been paid to empathy regarding negative emotions, but little is known about how (or if) we respond to positive emotions in the same way. Now, a new study reports that joy may be harder to share than distress. Psychology researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate the neural networks of 21 adults in response to positive and negative emotional stimuli.


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Empathy is fundamental to human emotion
and social experience and it has
strong evolutionary roots.
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By Jennifer Gibson

References

Bernhardt BC, & Singer T (2012). The neural basis of empathy. Annual review of neuroscience, 35, 1-23 PMID: 22715878


Danziger N, Faillenot I, & Peyron R (2009). Can we share a pain we never felt? Neural correlates of empathy in patients with congenital insensitivity to pain. Neuron, 61 (2), 203-12 PMID: 19186163


de Vignemont F, & Singer T (2006). The empathic brain: how, when and why? Trends in cognitive sciences, 10 (10), 435-41 PMID: 16949331


Perry D, Hendler T, & Shamay-Tsoory SG (2012). Can we share the joy of others? Empathic neural responses to distress vs joy. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 7 (8), 909-16 PMID: 22156723