Individual differences in local gray matter density are associated with differences in affective and cognitive empathy

  title={Individual differences in local gray matter density are associated with differences in affective and cognitive empathy},
  author={Robert Eres and Jean Decety and Winnifred R. Louis and Pascal Molenberghs},

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Insula and somatosensory cortical myelination and iron markers underlie individual differences in empathy
It is demonstrated that empathy for others depends upon a distributed network of regions such as the insula, parietal cortex, and somatosensory areas, which are also activated when the authors ourselves experience an empathized-with emotion (e.g., pain).
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The idea that empathic capacity is reflected by brain structural variations while also studying for the first time a sample of subjects for whom empathic responding is crucial in their profession is supported.
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It is proposed that this insular region where structural differences depending on individual empathy may play a crucial role in modulating the efficiency of neural integration underlying emotional, cognitive, and sensorimotor information which is essential for global empathy.
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The Neural Bases for Empathy
  • S. Shamay-Tsoory
  • Psychology
    The Neuroscientist : a review journal bringing neurobiology, neurology and psychiatry
  • 2011
Although the emotional and cognitive systems for empathy appear to work independently, every empathic response may still evoke both components to some extent, depending on the social context.
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Youths with psychopathic traits show less responsiveness in regions implicated in the affective response to another's pain as the perceived intensity of this pain increases, and this reduced responsiveness appears to predict symptom severity.
Anterior insular cortex is necessary for empathetic pain perception.
Examining the perception of others' pain in patients with anterior insular cortex or anterior cingulate cortex lesions reveals a critical role of anterior Insular cortex in empathetic pain processing, support for a wide range of neuropsychiatric illnesses characterized by prominent deficits in higher-level social functioning.