Do you feel my pain? Racial group membership modulates empathic neural responses.
ABSTRACT The pain matrix including the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) mediates not only first person pain experience but also empathy for others' pain. It remains unknown, however, whether empathic neural responses of the pain matrix are modulated by racial in-group/out-group relationship. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging we demonstrate that, whereas painful stimulations applied to racial in-group faces induced increased activations in the ACC and inferior frontal/insula cortex in both Caucasians and Chinese, the empathic neural response in the ACC decreased significantly when participants viewed faces of other races. Our findings uncover neural mechanisms of an empathic bias toward racial in-group members.
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ABSTRACT: The goal of the current research was to examine how discrete positive intergroup emotional phenomena affect conflict-related attitudes in different contexts of intractable conflict. We hypothesized that empathy, but not hope would be negatively associated with aggressive attitudes during escalation, while hope, but not empathy would be associated with conciliatory attitudes during de-escalation. In study 1 we examined our hypotheses within a correlational design in an emotion-inducing context, while in study 2 a two-wave survey was conducted during real-life events within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; a peace summit as well as a war. Both studies supported our hypotheses, thus indicating the unique, yet complimentary, contribution of each of the two emotional phenomena to the advancement of peace.Journal of Conflict Resolution 12/2015; DOI:10.1177/0022002715569772 · 2.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: One route to understanding the thoughts and feelings of others is by mentally putting one's self in their shoes and seeing the world from their perspective, i.e., by simulation. Simulation is potentially used not only for inferring how others feel, but also for predicting how we ourselves will feel in the future. For instance, one might judge the worth of a future reward by simulating how much it will eventually be enjoyed. In intertemporal choices between smaller immediate and larger delayed rewards, it is observed that as the length of delay increases, delayed rewards lose subjective value; a phenomenon known as temporal discounting. In this article, we develop a theoretical framework for the proposition that simulation mechanisms involved in empathizing with others also underlie intertemporal choices. This framework yields a testable psychological account of temporal discounting based on simulation. Such an account, if experimentally validated, could have important implications for how simulation mechanisms are investigated, and makes predictions about special populations characterized by putative deficits in simulating others.Frontiers in Neuroscience 04/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2015.00094
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ABSTRACT: Despite moral prohibitions on hurting other humans, some social contexts allow for harmful actions such as the killing of others. One example is warfare, where killing enemy soldiers is seen as morally justified. Yet, the neural underpinnings distinguishing between justified and unjustified killing are largely unknown. To improve understanding of the neural processes involved in justified and unjustified killing, participants had to imagine being the perpetrator whilst watching "first-person perspective" animated videos where they shot enemy soldiers ('justified violence') and innocent civilians ('unjustified violence'). When participants imagined themselves shooting civilians compared to soldiers, greater activation was found in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Regression analysis revealed that the more guilt participants felt about shooting civilians, the greater the response in the lateral OFC. Effective connectivity analyses further revealed an increased coupling between lateral OFC and the tempoparietal junction (TPJ) when shooting civilians. The results show that the neural mechanisms typically implicated with harming others, such as the OFC, become less active when the violence against a particular group is seen as justified. This study therefore provides unique insight into how normal individuals can become aggressors in specific situations. © The Author (2015). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com.Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 03/2015; DOI:10.1093/scan/nsv027 · 5.88 Impact Factor