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 New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>