ERIC Number: EJ923032
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Perception of Suffering and Compassion Experience: Brain Gender Disparities
Mercadillo, Roberto E.; Diaz, Jose Luis; Pasaye, Erick H.; Barrios, Fernando A.
Brain and Cognition, v76 n1 p5-14 Jun 2011
Compassion is considered a moral emotion related to the perception of suffering in others, and resulting in a motivation to alleviate the afflicted party. We compared brain correlates of compassion-evoking images in women and men. BOLD functional images of 24 healthy volunteers (twelve women and twelve men; age=27 [plus or minus] 2.5 y.o.) were acquired in a 3T magnetic resonance scanner while subjects viewed pictures of human suffering previously verified to elicit compassion and indicated their compassionate experience by finger movements. Functional analysis revealed that while women manifested activation in areas involved in basic emotional, empathic, and moral processes, such as basal regions and cingulate and frontal cortices, activation in men was restricted mainly to the occipital cortex and parahippocampal gyrus. These findings suggest that compassion and its moral elements constitute gender-relative subjective phenomena emerging from differently evolved neural mechanisms and socially learned features possibly related to nurturing skills.
Descriptors: Altruism, Empathy, Brain Hemisphere Functions, Correlation, Moral Development, Psychological Patterns, Comparative Analysis, Diagnostic Tests, Motor Reactions, Pictorial Stimuli, Emotional Disturbances, Gender Differences, Socialization
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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