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The Neurochemistry of Empathy, Storytelling, and the Dramatic Arc, Animated

The Neurochemistry of Empathy, Storytelling, and the Dramatic Arc, Animated
Related:  EmpathyPaper

Six Habits of Highly Empathic People Photo Credit: Dean Photography January 27, 2014 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. This article originally appeared on Greater Good, the online magazine of UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. If you think you’re hearing the word “empathy” everywhere, you’re right. But what is empathy? The big buzz about empathy stems from a revolutionary shift in the science of how we understand human nature. Over the last decade, neuroscientists have identified a 10-section “empathy circuit” in our brains which, if damaged, can curtail our ability to understand what other people are feeling. But empathy doesn’t stop developing in childhood. Habit 1: Cultivate Curiosity about Strangers Highly empathic people (HEPs) have an insatiable curiosity about strangers. Curiosity expands our empathy when we talk to people outside our usual social circle, encountering lives and worldviews very different from our own.

Why We Love: 5 Books on the Psychology of Love It’s often said that every song, every poem, every novel, every painting ever created is in some way “about” love. What this really means is that love is a central theme, an underlying preoccupation, in humanity’s greatest works. But what exactly is love? How does its mechanism spur such poeticism, and how does it lodge itself in our minds, hearts and souls so completely, so stubbornly, as to permeate every aspect of the human imagination? Today, we turn to 5 essential books that are “about” love in a different way — they turn an inquisitive lens towards this grand phenomenon and try to understand where it comes from, how it works, and what it means for the human condition. No superlative is an exaggeration of Alain de Botton‘s humble brilliance spanning everything from philosophy to architecture. Every fall into love involves [to adapt Oscar Wilde] the triumph of hope over self-knowledge. Sample her work with this fantastic TED talk on the brain in love: Is love really blind?

The Benefits of Talking about Thoughts with Tots Every parent knows that toddlers are strange and inscrutable creatures. They are capricious and contradictory, particularly when trying to interact with other people. My two-year-old daughter is no exception. One moment she is worrying about a crying baby. The next, she is snatching away her friend’s toy and shouting, “Mine!” For decades, scientists believed that theory of mind – the ability to reason about other people’s thoughts and emotions – doesn’t begin to mature until children reach the age of three or four. Most two- and three-year-olds answer that Sally would look in the box because that’s where they know the ball is. While children’s performance on the false-belief task initially led scientists to conclude that theory of mind develops around age four, that assumption has since been overturned. While children typically master the standard false-belief task around the age of four, the timing can range from three to nearly six years of age, depending on the child.

Unleashing Empathy: How Teachers Transform Classrooms With Emotional Learning by Lennon Flowers The secret to learning self-awareness, cooperation, and other “social and emotional learning” skills lies in experience, not in workbooks and rote classroom exercises. posted Apr 04, 2014 Photo by Studio One/Shutterstock. Each week, in hundreds of classrooms around the world, elementary school students sit cross-legged in a circle, surrounding a baby clad in a onesie with the word “Teacher” on the front. Over the course of a year, students learn to label the baby’s feelings and to interpret his or her actions. They learn to look beyond language to identify underlying emotions, whether joy, fear, frustration, or curiosity. They’re in a program called Roots of Empathy, part of a growing education trend broadly referred to as “social and emotional learning” (SEL), where children—and often their teachers and parents—learn to manage emotions, and to develop the skills required to establish relationships, de-escalate and resolve conflict, and effectively collaborate with others. More Stories

How Should We Live: History’s Forgotten Wisdom on Love, Time, Family, Empathy, and Other Aspects of the Art of Living by Maria Popova “How to pursue the art of living has become the great quandary of our age… The future of the art of living can be found by gazing into the past.” “He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth,” Goethe famously proclaimed. He writes in the introduction: How to pursue the art of living has become the great quandary of our age.[…]I believe that the future of the art of living can be found by gazing into the past. Rather than approaching that wonderbox as an instructional manual, however, Krznaric looks at history as a choose-your-own-adventure compendium of do’s as well as don’ts. We need to trace the historical origins of these legacies which have quietly crept into our lives and surreptitiously shaped our worldviews. The Histomap by John Sparks, 1931. In a chapter on love, Krznaric contends that our modern definition of love is too narrow, which both deprives us of the breadth of this grand human capacity and sets us up for disappointment:

The Science of Love: How Positivity Resonance Shapes the Way We Connect by Maria Popova The neurobiology of how the warmest emotion blurs the boundaries by you and not-you. We kick-started the year with some of history’s most beautiful definitions of love. But timeless as their words might be, the poets and the philosophers have a way of escaping into the comfortable detachment of the abstract and the metaphysical, leaving open the question of what love really is on an unglamorously physical, bodily, neurobiological level — and how that might shape our experience of those lofty abstractions. She begins with a definition that parallels Dorion Sagan’s scientific meditation on sex: First and foremost, love is an emotion, a momentary state that arises to infuse your mind and body alike. Fredrickson zooms in on three key neurobiological players in the game of love — your brain, your levels of the hormone oxytocin, and your vagus nerve, which connects your brain to the rest of your body — and examines their interplay as the core mechanism of love, summing up:

How to Care for Introverts (in 12 easy steps) (Via Tumblr) I say this often but I’m pretty sure I was a cat in a previous life. If I believed in reincarnation , I’d be purring right now. You know how there are two kinds of people in this world: dog people and cat people. People who need to be alone often, who are jealous of their space and privacy, who purr unexpectedly or stop purring for no apparent reason (who knows, maybe they just spotted a mouse); who never come when you call them but expect you to answer immediately when they call you. On the wiser side of town, they look like they’ve learned to become friends with their solitude . I could raise my hand here and say “me, me”, but the older I get, the less black & white I see the world, but more like a faded sepia. (Screenshot Amélie via YouTube) Overall though, I think there’s a cat in each one of us as much as there’s a dog. ~ Criss Jami (Via Questionably Late Tumblr) {Based on Linda Kreger Silverman’s On Introversion.}

Managing with the Brain in Mind Naomi Eisenberger, a leading social neuroscience researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), wanted to understand what goes on in the brain when people feel rejected by others. She designed an experiment in which volunteers played a computer game called Cyberball while having their brains scanned by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. Cyberball hearkens back to the nastiness of the school playground. “People thought they were playing a ball-tossing game over the Internet with two other people,” Eisenberger explains. “They could see an avatar that represented themselves, and avatars [ostensibly] for two other people. Then, about halfway through this game of catch among the three of them, the subjects stopped receiving the ball and the two other supposed players threw the ball only to each other.” This article is featured in the strategy+business app “Don’t Blame Your Culture,” available for smartphone and tablet devices.

How to Love an Empath get elephant's newsletter I’ve battled my bleeding heart for my entire life. “Mommy what’s wrong?” My back was turned. I don’t lie to my children. So I replied, “Mommy’s feelings are hurt today honey. “I know how that is Mommy, my feelings are hurt all of the time.” She paused, wiping her warm little hands up and down my back, “Mommy, it’s so hard being a nice person.” I never thought of it this way, but it’s true. At the tender age of five, my daughter has already learned this lesson. We feel more than we think. This is a blessing and a curse. I’ve battled my bleeding heart for my entire life. I’ve tried to fit the mold for long enough, to not let other people affect me. Every day, I interact with others and I feel them without words, so does my daughter, she did it tonight and she was right, I was sad. How do I love her (an empath)? (This applies to children, friends, parents and romantic partnerships). It’s simple; I honor how she feels and I reassure her that her feelings are important.

How To Rewire Your Brain For Stronger Relationships So, what does your brain have to do with relationships? The answer is, well, everything. Science has shown that specific neural pathways exist to actively help us engage in healthy relationships, and that in healthy relationships, those pathways grow stronger and stronger. So the long and short of all this is that stronger neural pathways for connection make your relationships stronger and more rewarding. For these reasons, it is time to pay attention to your brain-relationships connections. 1. Do your closest friends and family help you feel calm or do you need to take a vacation to Florida after being with your family for the holidays? When you have "good vagal tone" this neural network (which innervates your face, inner ear, and throat) tells the stress response system to turn off so that you can engage safely with people. To bulk up your smart vagus try the following: Go a little out of your way to make eye contact and say hello to people you normally pass by. 2. 3. 4.

Building Stories: Chris Ware Explores the Architecture of Being Human by Maria Popova What the inner life of a brownstone reveals about empathy, gender, and the human condition. Building Stories (public library) is a remarkable storytelling artifact by cartoonist Chris Ware, more than a decade in the making — a giant box containing fourteen individual print ephemera (books, booklets, comic strips, magazines, and even a gold-rimmed hardcover and a board game), each telling the interlocking tales of different residents of the same three-story Chicago brownstone, from the couple caught in a loveless relationship on the second floor, to the elderly spinster grappling with her own aging, to the bee trapped in the basement. Image via The Telegraph Ware writes: Who hasn’t tried when passing by a building, or a home, at night to peer past half-closed shades and blinds, hoping to catch a glimpse into the private lies of its inhabitants. On giving shape to the human experience: On the relationship between storytelling and empathy: On the building itself as a character:

7 Scientific Reasons You Should Listen To Your Heart (Not Your Brain) 6 Ways To Slow Down The Speed Of Life We blink and a year has passed. We've all heard or found ourselves saying, "They grow up so fast," or "The years just flew by." Life seems to be speeding up and it just doesn't make any sense. How Read How many times have I told a patient that the heart is a muscle whose job is to pump blood 100,000 times a day to all the organs of the body? Isn’t the heart just a vital (but fairly simple) bag of fleshy fibers? And yet, haven’t we all felt moments when we were sure that joy, love, and appreciation emanated from our hearts? New research is showing that the heart controls the brain much more than previously thought. Let’s look at 7 of the most important new findings about the central role of the heart in controlling the mind: 1. There are 40,000 sensory neurons relaying information to the brain from the heart, leading researchers to call the heart the “little brain” and to coin the field as neurocardiology. 2. It does so in four ways, via: 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Empathy: A Short Conceptual History and An Anthropological Question Savage Minds welcomes guest blogger LINDSAY A BELL In my first post, I proposed that anthropology might be particularly well suited to thinking through the concept of empathy. In North America, “empathy” has come to be a prominent term across the caring arts. In areas ranging from self-help to health care, empathy seems to be something that can and should be cultivated. Last weeks’ commentators aptly pointed out that “empathy” has become a gloss for broader concerns. In 1909, Edward Titchener coined the English “empathy” while working on the psychology of perception at Cornell. The 19th century German psychologist Theodor Lipps provided the most thorough account of Einfühlung. The concept of Einfühlung has influenced thought on a variety of intellectual problems, in a variety of contexts, but in most cases has not inspired the kind of grand claims we see in contemporary talk about empathy. Empathy’s Clinical Crossover The idea of empathy as a general principle of positive relationships.