Training: Papers‎ > ‎

(Mascaro 2013)

 Title:  Compassion meditation enhances empathic accuracy and related neural activity.
DOI or Website Link:  
Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 
Date:   2012 Sep 5.


The ability to accurately infer others' mental states from facial expressions is important for optimal social functioning and is fundamentally impaired in social cognitive disorders such as autism. While pharmacologic interventions have shown promise for enhancing empathic accuracy, little is known about the effects of behavioral interventions on empathic accuracy and related brain activity. 

This study employed a randomized, controlled and longitudinal design to investigate the effect of a secularized analytical compassion meditation program, cognitive-based compassion training (CBCT), on empathic accuracy. Twenty-one healthy participants received functional MRI scans while completing an empathic accuracy task, the 

Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET), both prior to and after completion of either CBCT or a health discussion control group. Upon completion of the study interventions, participants randomized to CBCT and were significantly more likely than control subjects to have increased scores on the RMET and increased neural activity in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC). 

Moreover, changes in dmPFC and IFG activity from baseline to the post-intervention assessment were associated with changes in empathic accuracy. These findings suggest that CBCT may hold promise as a behavioral intervention for enhancing empathic accuracy and the neurobiology supporting it.

Topic Area:
 (In which field / sector / perspective was this study conducted?)

(How was empathy defined?)

(Were any benefits of empathy mentioned?)

 (What were the methods used to train empathy?)
  •  meditation program
  • Tibetan: lojong meditation 
  • cognitive-based compassion training (CBCT)
  • mindful-awareness (i.e. vipassana)
Target Group:  
(Who participated in this study / training?)
  • Twenty-one healthy participants

About the assessment: How was the change in empathy measured before/after the intervention/method?) 
  • Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET)

(What was the result?)
  • after the meditation participants were better at Mind in the Eyes Test

Posted By:  Edwin Rutsch


(Any other relevant information)
  • *try and get a copy of their detailed training curriculum

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