Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Empathy and the brain #2

Some difference in empathy based on gender have been noted by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen in his book The Science of Evil. Studies showed that both males and females tended to activate portions of the brain that register aspects of empathy when they saw someone in pain whom they liked and regarded as fair. Interestingly enough, studies also showed that males found it easier to switch off their empathy for someone with whom they had no vested interest in remaining in a relationship, or who might be competitors of theirs, or who they judged to be out of line. Knowing information such as this may allow an individual to make a more informed choice. There may also be a connection between emotional intelligence and empathy. Building emotional intelligence happens only with sincere desire and concerted effort. It requires more effort to strengthen an ability such as empathy (compared to risk analysis) because the limbic brain may learn more slowly and require more practice than the cortex.

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