Training: Papers‎ > ‎

(Klimecki 2014)

Article/Study Title:  Differential pattern of functional brain plasticity after compassion and empathy training
DOI or Website Link:  10.1093/scan/nst060
Publication: Klimecki, Olga M.; Leiberg, Susanne; Ricard, Matthieu; Singer, Tania (2014): Differential pattern of functional brain plasticity after compassion and empathy training. In: Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 9 (6), S. 873–879. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nst060.
Authors:   Klimecki, Olga M.; Leiberg, Susanne; Ricard, Matthieu; Singer, Tania
Date:   2014
Affiliation(s):  

Abstract:   
Although empathy is crucial for successful social interactions, excessive sharing of others' negative emotions may be maladaptive and constitute a source of burnout. To investigate functional neural plasticity underlying the augmentation of empathy and to test the counteracting potential of compassion, one group of participants was first trained in empathic resonance and subsequently in compassion. In response to videos depicting human suffering, empathy training, but not memory training (control group), increased negative affect and brain activations in anterior insula and anterior midcingulate cortex-brain regions previously associated with empathy for pain. In contrast, subsequent compassion training could reverse the increase in negative effect and, in contrast, augment self-reports of positive affect. In addition, compassion training increased activations in a non-overlapping brain network spanning ventral striatum, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex and medial orbitofrontal cortex. We conclude that training compassion may reflect a new coping strategy to overcome empathic distress and strengthen resilience.

Topic Area:
Measuring the effects of compassion/empathy training

Definition:
No specific definition of empathy/compassion was given


Benefits:
Compassionate meditating can reduce the personal distress through empathic concern for an afflicted person.


Methods:
  • Metta meditation in a secularized form
Target Group:  
No specific target group


Measurements:
  • Self-reporting
  • fMRI scans

Result:
Compassion training reduces negative effect of empathic concern


Posted By:
Sascha Bosetzky
 
Notes: 
Well, an important question arises: When compassion training reduces empathic distress does it also reduce the motivation to alleviate the object's perceived distress? Is has been well documented that empathic concern is an important motivation for prosocial behavior.
This was not addressed in the paper.


References:
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