Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Functional neural plasticity and associated changes in positive affect after compassion training


Klimecki, Olga M; Leiberg, Susanne; Lamm, Claus; Singer, Tania (2013). Functional neural plasticity and associated changes in positive affect after compassion training. Cerebral Cortex, 23(7):1552-1561.

Abstract

The development of social emotions such as compassion is crucial for successful social interactions as well as for the maintenance of mental and physical health, especially when confronted with distressing life events. Yet, the neural mechanisms supporting the training of these emotions are poorly understood. To study affective plasticity in healthy adults, we measured functional neural and subjective responses to witnessing the distress of others in a newly developed task (Socio-affective Video Task). Participants' initial empathic responses to the task were accompanied by negative affect and activations in the anterior insula and anterior medial cingulate cortex—a core neural network underlying empathy for pain. Whereas participants reacted with negative affect before training, compassion training increased positive affective experiences, even in response to witnessing others in distress. On the neural level, we observed that, compared with a memory control group, compassion training elicited activity in a neural network including the medial orbitofrontal cortex, putamen, pallidum, and ventral tegmental area—brain regions previously associated with positive affect and affiliation. Taken together, these findings suggest that the deliberate cultivation of compassion offers a new coping strategy that fosters positive affect even when confronted with the distress of others

Abstract

The development of social emotions such as compassion is crucial for successful social interactions as well as for the maintenance of mental and physical health, especially when confronted with distressing life events. Yet, the neural mechanisms supporting the training of these emotions are poorly understood. To study affective plasticity in healthy adults, we measured functional neural and subjective responses to witnessing the distress of others in a newly developed task (Socio-affective Video Task). Participants' initial empathic responses to the task were accompanied by negative affect and activations in the anterior insula and anterior medial cingulate cortex—a core neural network underlying empathy for pain. Whereas participants reacted with negative affect before training, compassion training increased positive affective experiences, even in response to witnessing others in distress. On the neural level, we observed that, compared with a memory control group, compassion training elicited activity in a neural network including the medial orbitofrontal cortex, putamen, pallidum, and ventral tegmental area—brain regions previously associated with positive affect and affiliation. Taken together, these findings suggest that the deliberate cultivation of compassion offers a new coping strategy that fosters positive affect even when confronted with the distress of others

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
253 citations in Web of Science®
275 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

319 downloads since deposited on 02 Nov 2018
114 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:Unspecified
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Cognitive Neuroscience
Life Sciences > Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Uncontrolled Keywords:Socio-affective Video Task; affective training; brain; empathy; fMRI
Language:English
Date:1 July 2013
Deposited On:02 Nov 2018 15:47
Last Modified:15 Apr 2021 14:50
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1047-3211
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhs142
PubMed ID:22661409

Download

Hybrid Open Access

Download PDF  'Functional neural plasticity and associated changes in positive affect after compassion training'.
Preview
Content: Published Version
Language: English
Filetype: PDF (Nationallizenz 142-005)
Size: 4MB
View at publisher