Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First study to watch brain patterns when forgiving

09.10.2003


Different parts of brain are activated

In the first study ever to examine how the brain functions when making judgments about forgivability and empathy, researcher Tom Farrow, B.Sc. (Hons.), Ph.D., found that different regions of the brain are activated when a person makes judgments about forgiving.

The findings will be presented at the Scientific Conference on Forgiveness along with studies from over 40 of the top scientists in the world who study forgiveness. The conference is in Atlanta October 24-25. To register, log on to the Press Room at: http://www.forgiving.org/campaign/clippings.asp



This study, conducted in the UK, shows that forgiveness is a complex process that occurs in the brain. Different parts of the brain are utilized when a person makes moral judgments, empathizes with someone and eventually makes judgments about how forgivable the person and/or action may be. Farrow’s study is the first ever to examine how the brain functions when making judgments about forgivability and empathy. Through MRI scanning of a healthy control group, the study found that judgments about forgivability and empathy produced a distinct pattern of brain activity.

Following therapy, the brain activity of two separate groups of patients, one with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the other with Schizophrenia, appeared to normalize and return to the patterns seen in the healthy control group. These changes were noted in the portion of the brain involved in feeling empathy and making moral judgments. Changes were not as pronounced in the regions of the brain that controls forgivability judgments.

Farrow is a Lecturer in Adult Psychiatry (Neuroimaging), Sheffield Cognition and Neuroimaging Laboratory (SCANLab), Sheffield University, UK. He is also a Visiting Royal Society Overseas Research Fellow, Brain DynamicsCentre,Westmead Hospital and Honorary Lecturer, Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia.

(Control data published in the Journal of Neuro Report, Vol. 12, Issue 11, pages 2433-2438 in 2001; PTSD data under submission to the British Journal of Psychiatry; Schizophrenia data is being typed up and prepared for submission; PTSD and Schizophrenia data presented at many conferences in the U.S., Japan and Australia.)

ABSTRACT: Farrow, Tom: Brain Imaging and Empathic and Forgivability Judgments

1. Brain imaging of high-level cognitive functions is feasible.
2. Physiologically, forgiveness is almost certainly a multi-dimensional complex cognitive process.
3. Preliminary evidence suggests that it may be possible to demonstrate brain activation change, concomitant with symptom resolution and / or therapeutic input.

Forgiveness is likely to comprise multiple cognitive components. One such component may be the ability to judge the forgivability of another’s actions. Another component may be an ability to empathize with others, including an aggressor. Empathy consists of two components: an affective (visceral emotional reaction) and a cognitive (understanding of the conspecific’s behaviour). Empathy and forgiveness are also both heavily dependent on the expression and interpretation of emotions. We used functional MRI to examine the neural correlates of making empathic and forgivability judgments. To our knowledge this is the first study to examine the functional anatomy of forgiveness. We posited that forgiveness incorporates judgments of another’s intentions, their emotional state and the forgivability of their actions. While it was not feasible to image subjects actively forgiving or empathizing in ’real life’, we used narrative scenarios derived from everyday life, to probe the neural systems supporting these complex cognitive functions. We hypothesised that fronto-temporal regions would be differentially activated by these tasks.

Method:-12 healthy control subjects and 13 patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) underwent fMRI scanning, while they engaged in tasks: (i) that involve speculation on another’s intention, (ii) that invoke empathy and (iii) involve making judgments of actions’ forgivability; each versus ’baseline’ social reasoning judgments. A post-therapy fMRI scan followed a course of cognitive behavioral therapy with a forgiveness component. Results: Post-therapy, we found increased activation in brain regions predicted on the basis of foregoing work in healthy controls. These included significant left middle temporal gyrus activation in post-therapy response to empathy judgments and posterior cingulate gyrus activation in post-therapy response to forgivability judgments.

Conclusions: Empathic and forgivability judgments activate specific regions of the human brain, which we propose contribute to social cohesion. The activation in these regions changed with symptom resolution in PTSD.

Vicki Robb | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.forgiving.org/
http://www.forgiving.org/campaign/clippings.asp

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>