Affective and physiological responses to the suffering of others: compassion and vagal activity.

@article{Stellar2015AffectiveAP,
  title={Affective and physiological responses to the suffering of others: compassion and vagal activity.},
  author={Jennifer E Stellar and Adam B. Cohen and Christopher Oveis and Dacher Keltner},
  journal={Journal of personality and social psychology},
  year={2015},
  volume={108 4},
  pages={
          572-85
        }
}
Compassion is an affective response to another's suffering and a catalyst of prosocial behavior. In the present studies, we explore the peripheral physiological changes associated with the experience of compassion. Guided by long-standing theoretical claims, we propose that compassion is associated with activation in the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system through the vagus nerve. Across 4 studies, participants witnessed others suffer while we recorded physiological measures, including… 

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