Empathy can be found in people whose brains are at rest, UCLA researchers have found that it is possible to assess a person’s ability to feel empathy by examining their brain activity at rest, not while doing certain tasks.
Empathy has traditionally been assessed using questionnaires and psychological assessments.
The results of this study offer alternatives for people who might have difficulty filling out questionnaires, e.g. B. People with severe mental illness or autism.
Assessing empathy is often the most difficult of the population groups that need it most, the researchers said. Empathy is the foundation of health and mental well-being. It promotes social and cooperative behavior through our care for others. Empathy can be found in people whose brains are at rest.
It also helps us to understand and anticipate the inner feelings, behavior, and intentions of others.
Jakoboni has long studied human empathy. Previous research has included empathy testing in people who face moral dilemmas or see someone in pain.
Resting data on brain activity is collected using functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI, a non-invasive technique to measure and map brain activity through small changes in blood flow.
Participants are told to let their minds wander until they close their eyes by seeing a crosshair on a black screen.
Participants then fill out a questionnaire to measure empathy.
They appreciate statements like “I often have soft feelings and attention towards people who are less fortunate than me” and “Sometimes I try to understand my friends better by imagining how they see things”. they are on a five-point scale from “not good” to “very good”. ” Empathy can be found in people whose brains are at rest.
The researchers wanted to measure how accurately they could predict the location of participants’ empathy, which was marked by their willingness and ability to understand each other’s situation by analyzing brain scans.
Predictions have been made taking into account resting activity in certain brain tissue, which has proven important for empathy in previous studies. Researchers have used a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning that can choose subtle patterns in data that traditional data analysis cannot do. Empathy can be found in people whose brains are at rest.
We found that brain activity in this network could reveal the location of people’s empathy, even if it was not directly involved in tasks involving empathy, the researchers said.
The nice thing about this research is that MRI helped us predict the results of each participant’s questionnaire. “”
The results can help health professionals better assess empathy for people with autism or schizophrenia who may have difficulty filling out questionnaires or expressing emotions.
It is believed that people with this disease have no empathy. “However, if we can show that your brain has the ability to empathize, we can work to improve it by learning and using other therapies.
The predictive power of machine learning algorithms, such as when applied to brain data, can also help us estimate how well a patient will respond to an intervention and help us develop optimal therapeutic strategies from the start. Empathy can be found in people whose brains are at rest.
This study complements a growing body of research that indicates that an inactive brain is as active as a brain involved in a task and that brain tissue in an inactive brain can interact in the same way as when they were involved in a task. Jacoboni said that greater future research could help identify other areas of the brain associated with empathy.