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Neural correlates of admiration and compassion
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Neural correlates of admiration and compassion



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  • 1. Neural Correlates of Admiration and Compassion Immordino-Yang M H et al. PNAS 2009 Anna Jo 2010. 3. 2
  • 2. Emotional reactions to another person’s psychological or physical state Goal Social/psych physical ological Admiration for virtue for skill (AV) (AV) Compassion for pain for pain (CSP) (CPP) [ Assumption ] the experience of all 4 emotions: - anterior insula, - anterior cingulate - hypothalamus - mesencephalon.
  • 3. “Not clarified” Posteromedial cortices(PMC) in social tasks and episodic memory [ Hypotheses ] 1. Admiration and compassion would engage sub-cortical nuclei in brainstem and hypothalamus, and somato-sensory cortices in interoceptive (anterior insula) and exteroceptive sectors (somato- sensory association areas including the superior parietal lobule and supra marginal gyrus); 2. Admiration and compassion would engage the PMC (posterior cingulate, retrosplenial cortex and precuneus); 3. Activation in the anterior insula would peak and dissipate more quickly for CPP than for CSP or varieties of admiration. [ Novelty ] - Neural basis of admiration - Neural correlates of compassion states(CSP vs. CPP)
  • 4. fMRI and behavioral Methods [ Experimental Design ] 1. Participants: 13 participants (6 women and 7 men) 2. 4 distinct conditions: admiration for virtue (AV), admiration for skill (AS), compassion for social pain (CSP), and compassion for physical pain (CPP) 3. Stimuli: Audio/video/still images involving social pain (CSP); bodily injury without social consequences (CPP); virtuous acts (AV); or virtuosic skill without virtuous implications (AS) 4. blood-oxygen-level-dependent(BOLD) signal, respiration rate, and heart rate data • ANCOVA random effect analysis • Event-related averages(ERAs) • Bootstrap procedure
  • 5. Results Anterior cingulate Posterior insula Medulla Anterior insula Lateral parietal cortices Hypothalamus Posterior, inferior Anterior, superior posteromedial cortices(pm) posteromedial cortices(pm)
  • 6. Results Relative activation in the posteromedial cortices (PMC, outlined in pink) for (AV/CSP, blue → green) Vs. (AS/CPP, orange → yellow)
  • 7. Discussion 1. Parvizi et al. : the superior/anterior portion of the PMC<AS, CPP> is strongly interconnected with lateral parietal cortices, whereas the inferior/posterior portion<AV, CSP> is closely associated with the anterior middle cingulate cortex, which is itself strongly connected with the insular cortex. 2. Activity in the anterior insula [ compassion for physical pain(CPP) ] peaked more quickly and for a shorter duration than during CSP (and AV, AS) Þ emotions about others’ physically painful predicaments co-opt neural mechanisms for personally experienced pain most efficiently and directly Þ emotions about others’ psychological/moral situations build on these same mechanisms but may operate less efficiently and directly.