Press Release: Compassion meditation may boost neural basis of empathy, Emory study finds

A compassion-based meditation program can significantly improve a person’s ability to read the facial expressions of others, finds an Emory University study..

 

 

A compassion-based meditation program can significantly improve a person’s ability to read the facial expressions of others, finds a study published by Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. This boost in empathic accuracy was detected through both behavioral testing of the study participants and through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of their brain activity.

 

“It’s an intriguing result, suggesting that a behavioral intervention could enhance a key aspect of empathy,” says lead author Jennifer Mascaro, a post-doctoral fellow in anthropology at Emory University. “Previous research has shown that both children and adults who are better at reading the emotional expressions of others have better relationships.”

 

The research team also included

– senior author Charles Raison (photo),

– formerly a psychiatrist at Emory’s School of Medicine and currently at the University of Arizona, and Emory anthropologist James Rilling.

– Cognitively-Based Compassion Training, or CBCT, was developed at Emory by study co-author Lobsang Tenzin Negi, director of the Emory-Tibet Partnership

 

Beverly Clark