Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Culture of Empathy Builder: Tania Singer
http://j.mp/O4jpw8

 
Tania Singer
  Tania Singer is a social neuroscientist and psychologist. Her research aims to increase our understanding of the foundations of human social behavior. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, she and her team investigate the neuronal, hormonal, and developmental foundations of human social cognition, social and moral emotions such as empathy and compassion, envy, revenge, fairness as well as emotion regulation capacities and their role in social decision making.

Tania Singer and her team showed that a basis for empathy can be identified in the brain.  Psychology and Neuroscience - University of Zurich.
 


 
 

Links

 

 

 

How to build a caring economy By Tania Singer - Jan 24 2015
"Research in the fields of psychology and neuroscience shows beyond doubt that the assumptions about human nature that underpin mainstream economic models are simply wrong...
The difference between empathy and compassion
It is important, however, to distinguish between basic empathic and caring responses, and a more universal capacity for compassion. It is possible that universal compassion is solely a human function. Empathy alone does not necessarily prompt prosocial behaviour. If you empathize with the suffering of another, for example, you may not necessarily help this person. Empathy can also result in empathic distress that may even lead to withdrawal or aggressive behaviour."

 

 

2013-06-24 - Feeling Others’ Pain: Transforming Empathy into Compassion

"Breakthroughs in cognitive neuroscience: Highlighting influential research from the past 20 years

CNS talked with Singer, who is now at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, about the influence of the 2004 paper, her work exploring training people for compassion, and new avenues for social neuroscience, including the merging of neuroscience, economics, and psychology.

CNS: Why do you think your empathy for pain 2004 paper was and is still so important?
Singer: At the time of its appearance, it was one of the first cognitive neuroscience papers that reported about two people within the scanner environment instead of just focusing on a single brain. We had asked couples to come to our laboratory and scanned the female while she was empathizing with the suffering of her partner who was sitting next to her by the scanner. At that time, such an experimental set-up was extremely unusual as it was trying to capture a real-life social phenomena. "

 

 

The Neuroscience of Compassion | Tania Singer World Economic Forum

 

  • Brain Plasticity -

  • Training

    •  1. Presence - 3 months

      • Meditation

      • attention

      • interoceptice awareness

      • exercise

        • breathing

        • body scan

    • 2. Affect

      • become aware of body and feelings

      • care/compassion/gratitude

      • prosocial motivation

      • dealing with difficult emotions

      • exercise

        • observing thoughts

        • perspective dyad - empathic listening

    • 3. Perspective

      • meta-cognitive

      • perspective taking

      • theory of mind

      • exercise

  • Group meditation

  • 5:00 - lots of studying and testing

  • Training Step 1, 2 3  -

  • Training Step 1, 3, 2 - 

  • 6:30 difference in empathy and compassion

  • psychopaths understand the intentions, beliefs, - good at manipulating the other because they know what the person needs and thinks. no empathy and compassion, they don't care.

  • 9:50 - training different capacities - exercising metaphor.

    • affective and perspective taking have different brain networks so can be trained differently

    • effects of trainings

  • Does time of practice matter?

    • have a test on stress

  • Old Model for economics

    • neo classic -self interest

    • context

  • we can be motivated by different forces (needs, feelings)

 

 

 

 

Raising Compassion .

 
"Raising Compassion brings together a diverse group of neuroscientists, mental health professionals, and Buddhist monks in a remarkable exchange between science, art, and contemplative practice. In a series of informal conversations about compassion, initiated by neuroscientist Tania Singer and artist Olafur Eliasson, the protagonists discuss the public perception of compassion, talk about compassion-training programs at various research centres, relate their experiences about working with prisoners and in hospitals, and promote the practical uses of compassion-training in dealing with social and political issues."  July 2011,

 

 

DLDwomen 2012: About Priming Sex and Empathy

 


36:00 - Empathy, Compassion and Plasticity

  • Social Neuroscience - a new field

    • social brain

  • 38:00 difference between Empathy and Compassion

    • how to train it

  • 39:00 Definitions of Empathy

    • Emotional contagion

      • yawning

      • laughing (video)

      • Stress -

      • we are interconnect beings

      • Emotional contagion - this is not empathy yet

      • catch it like a virus

    • You have pain and I share your pain - Self other distinction

    • Difference between empathy and compassion

    • Empathy is a precursor and is good but if you have to much of it you can go into distress.

      • go into closing down

    • What we want to have is compassion

    • What are driving motivational factors to be prosocial. not egoistic

    • The roots of coming to understand the other (routes of social cognition

      • affective root - resonance

      • cognitive metalizing - theory of mind

        • psychopathy

  • 44:40 Empathy for Pain Tests - pain matrix

  • 47:50 Modulatory factors (what blocks empathy)

    • Alexthymia

      • don't know what you feel?

      • don't have access to your feeling

      • understanding your own feeling and empathy is very close [self-empathy]

      • introspective training

    • Perceived fairness of others

      • [isn't fairness like the person is not empathizing with you?]

      • empathizing or not with the cheater

    • Perceived group membership

      • ingroup and out group

      • more empathy for outgroup

    • Schdenfreude and prosocial behavior

    • 53:45 Summary

      • we are wired for empathy

      • connects to and use our own neurons

      • empathy training should start with learning to read your own feelings

      • you can inhibit empathy

  • 56:00 Empathy is fragile

    • What can we do about it. Through training

    • Looked for experts and did tests

      • Dali Lama monks

      • activate warm feelings from caring system

  • 59:00 Addressing compassion fatigue

    • has big grant in training

    • address burnout, stress, egocentricity >> leads to depression

  • 1:00:00 End

  • Q and A?

    • Priming How should we change our behavior

    • Q 1:05 - Why should we be empathic and why should we learn it.

      • start with empathy go to compassion

    • Q - Do you do something to increase your empathy and compassion?

      • exercise the steps we teach

      • meditation

      • many techniques

      • Attention and perspective taking training

    • Q Do you measure differences between cultures?

      • we are not there.

      • the systems are universal even in animals.

    • Q. do you work with the police?

    • will publish a book with findings and trainings.

The Neuroeconomics of Mind Reading and Empathy pdf
The phenomenon of empathy entails the ability to share the affective experiences of others. In recent years social neuroscience made considerable progress in revealing the mechanisms that enable a person to feel what another is feeling. The present review provides an in-depth and critical discussion of these findings./..
 

 

2012-05-(26-29) International Symposia for Contemplative Studies

Master Lecture Webcast: Basic Science/Neuroscience and Contemplative Practice

Tania Singer  Neuroscience, Empathy versus Compassion from Biological perspective


(times are off?)

 

Singer  - empathy and compassion from a biological perspective

 

How first and third person perspective can meet 

  • and can lead to something new

  • Our framework: Affective Sisters

  • From contagion via empathy to compassion

 

Emotional contagion (not empathy)

  • babies crying

  • yawning

  • laughing

  • stress watching stress

 

3:04 Empathy needs a distinction between self and other

  • develops after 18 months

  • empathy is not compassion

  • it's a vicarious feeling

  • empathy is only to get into resonance together

  • I share your pain

  • (why is everyone so hung up on pain? just over and over again)

  • can lead to burnout and poor health in the helping professions

  • Compassion has motivation to help

4:50 Theory of Mind - is a cognitive route

  • Metalizing

  • Cognitive perspective taking

  • to others beliefs and thoughts

Compassion

  • is a warm feeling rooted in love not a distressing feeling

  • wanting to alleviate the pain

  • compassion is much broader

 

Want to lead to Prosocial behavior

 

 

  • 6:15 Experimental Set-up: Empathy 'In Vivo'

    • suffering pain

    • empathy for pain circuitry

  • 8:00 Can we train empathy and compassion?

    • how are training effects associate with changes in the brains, behavior and health

  • 8:13 Plasticity of the Social Brain

    • study experts compassion meditation

    • comparing empathy and compassion

    • rising warmth and concern

    • tested just resonating with the suffering

  • 11:18 Contrasting Pain and Empathy V Compassion and Metta

    • different networks activated

  • 12:15 Effects of Compassion vs Empathy Training

    • Compassion vs. Empathy Distress

    • if you are just having empathy, your picking up the distress of others,. If you get empathy training you pick up the distress better. This means you will have more stress and lead to burnout. Compassion training helps you relieve the stress.

     

    Empathy

    Compassion
    Empathic Concern
    Sympathy

    other related emotion
    positive feelings - love
    good health
    prosocial motivation

    Empathic/Personal Distress

    self -related emotion
    negative feelings, burnout
    withdrawal

     

  • Training compassion, empathy & memory
     

    memory

    compassion

     

    memory

    memory

     

    compassion

       

     

  • Positive valence

  • 14:42 changes in brain responses after compassion training

  • 16:30 one week of empathy training?

    • just resonate with the suffering of the others

    • people were feeling distressed

  • 17:15 then trained in compassion for a week

    • compassion training brought people back to normal

 

2011-03-08  Interview with Tania Singer @Stanford University CCARE
*Can we train people to become more empathic, and which processing level (bottom-up or top-down) should be targeted in order for such a training to be most effective and persistent? For example, is it more effective to increase sensory awareness and low level affective sharing, or should we develop emotion regulation strategies or positive compassionate feelings to reduce personal distress and withdrawal behavior? How does this interact with individual differences in trait empathy and related concepts, and at what age(s) should training take place? Apparently, the investigation of the latter questions requires large-scale longitudinal studies which could have enormous implications for education and society as a whole.

 

  • What do you think Compassion is?

    • is not an agreement on definition

    • a mixture of

      • a feeling of love for another person

      • wish to see person happy

      • if person is suffering a desire to do something about it

      • a motivation to help

  • Describe compassion personally?

    • closest to love that is not conditioned to getting something back

    • a way of unconditional love

    • not wanting something back

    • if you feel it, your out of the way, but it's good for you

    • it's closes to real freedom

  • Is compassion innate or can it be cultivated?

    • basic compassion/love is innate

    • in humans have different capacities - systems

      • love/compassion

      • fear

    • have to learn to deal with fear

    • if fear is up - compassion down, and visa versa

    • learn about your fears.

    • to cultivate compassion learn to work with your fears

    • Empathy - everyone has more or less

      • emotion contagion

      • that's a precursor of compassion

  • Difference of empathy and compassion?

    • sisters of empathy

    • family of empathic responses

      • emotion contagion - animals have that

        • yawning - you yawn

        • babies crying

      • Shared feelings

        • if you have identity of self

        • you are sad - and I'm sad for you

        • distinction between you and I

      • Empathy doesn't mean I'm nice to you

        • empathy can have everything

      • Empathy concern or compassion

        • Empathy is a necessary precondition for compassion to arise

        • psychopaths can't do compassion because no empathy

        • too much empathy might be detrimental

          • care giving might lead to burnout

        • need to teach how to deal with these feelings

        • transform pain into action

  • Courage and compassion?

    • are they the same thing, no

    • need courage to deal with pain

    • compassion moves to pain

  • Courage, empathy and compassion training?

    • studying plasticity of brain - for empathy and compassion

    • how can we train that

  • Personal role of Compassion in your life?

    • many have done compassion for me

    • is subtitle - we connect with people and get into relationship with people

    • compassion is flowing

    • feel they stepped out and understand

    • feel this love, a heroic act

  • Training Compassion interventions?

    • can use for autism, Aspergers,  psychopathy

    • lack of compassion is omnipresent

    • empathy training could profit

    • create exercises, schools, politics




2011-03-07 -  Tania Singer, Neuroscience, Zurich University  @ Stanford CCARE
Social Emotions in Social Neuroscience: From Emotion Contagion to Empathy and Fairness


 

  • Fairness and compassion base cooperation

  • clarification of terms

    • emotional contagion;

      • yawning,

      • children crying

      • pupils change

    • mimicry;

    • empathy;

      • differentiation your feeling from the others

      • I share your pain but it's not mine

      • self other distinction

    • cognitive empathy;

      • cognitive perspective taking

      • theory of mind

      • abstract concept of the other

      • not sharing feeling

    • emotional empathy;

    • sympathy;

      • can have condescension quality

    • compassion;

      • an equality of sameness of humanity

      • difficult to define

      • deep awareness of the suffering of another

      • wish to relive it

      • human understanding the suffering of others

    • prosocial behavior;

  • empathic networks

  • neural networks activation

    • smelling disgusting odors

    • pain

  • empathy deficits

    • alexithymia - difficulty in identifying and describing your own feelings

      • have an empathy deficit

    • pain, empathy, and fairness, male and female

    • compassion training?

  • empathy training- should start with training you to identify your own feelings

  • autism empathy deficit is from alexithymia 

  • study empathy training

 

2010

Tania Singer - Breaking the Wall between People @Falling Walls 2010

 

"What defines humans: self-interest, self-focus, empathy or compassion?
While "exogenous" sciences like economy and sociology failed to give by themselves an exhaustive definition of human nature, producing partial concepts like the "homo economicus", the answer might come from an "inside-out" approach."

  • Breaking the wall between people

  • The fall of the wall in Berlin

  • Walls between between people were breaking -  minds and mental states

  • less in and out group - empathy joy

  • 2:00 Talk about these experiences from social neuroscience

    • how do we understand other minds?

    • others thoughts, believe,  intensions

  • 2:50 From Emotional Contagion through Empathy to Compassion

     

    • Emotional Contagion

      • babies crying contagion

      • baby laughing contagion - [video]

      • eye pupil measurements - are also contagious

      • see someone that is sad, you mirror it.

      • unconsciously

      • [dogs?]

      • this is not yet empathy

    • Empathy

      • self other distinction

      • differentiating my pain and your pain.

      • people think empathy is a good thing,

      •  if you have too much empathy, like in caregiver profession, this can be a problem

      • you can burnout

      • you can turn it into compassion

    • Compassion

      • you can turn it into sympathy, compassion, concern for the other

      • a real motivation for the welfare for the other

      • a concern for the other

      • a warm feeling

    • Theory of Mind (TOM) - there are different routes into the brain/mind of another person

      • Theory of Mind - a cognitive perspective taking

      • not an affective root into the other but a cognitive route.

      • Psychopaths for example have (TOM)

        • good at manipulating others, know the others needs and beliefs are

        • but they lack empathy

  • 6:20 have identified the different roots into the mind.

  • 6:50 shared pain tests in scanner

    • empathy for pain

    • shared pain circuitry

    • brain response of husband and wife

    • check networks used in the brain

  • 9:30 What factors block this automatic empathy

    • Schadenfreude - how does this come about?  joy in the pain of others.

    • Unfairness or cheating by someone

    • Economic games tests

      • principle of fairness

      • woman - empathy for both fair person and unfair player

      • men - empathy for both fair person and non empathy for unfair player

    • In group and out group helping

      •  

  • 13:40 Can you train compassion?

    • checking monks

    • regulation of emotion and compassion

    • doing studies and tests
       

 

 

The Neuroscience of Compassion | Tania Singer
World Economic Forum

 
"Can training our brains help make the world a better place? Tania Singer from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences thinks it can. She’s a social neuroscientist and psychologist who says the brain’s plasticity means it can be trained to make us less selfish and more compassionate. In this video for the World Economic Forum, Singer shows how our decision making is driven by a set of psychological motivations - from power to fear - that can be altered to help us make better decisions for society and for our health. Her research has also influenced the development of a new model of “caring economics” that hopes to work towards sustainability and global cooperation.'

 

DLD14 - How to Train Your Mind and Your Heart 
 
"A world expert on empathy, Tania Singer explores how improved cognitive and mental skills foster stability of mind, open hearts and encourage cooperation. After a short talk on the neurobiological basis of compassion, she'll leads a special DLD workshop based on her freely downloadable multi-media eBook "Compassion. Bridging Science and Practice." Developed through a cooperative effort of neuroscientists, therapists, contemplative scholars and monks, the book describes a variety of secular mental training programs, their use in education, clinical settings and for everyday life, as well as scientific findings on the resulting changes of brain, health and general well-being."