The Science of Empathy (New Developments)
New scientific developments are opening the doors to our understanding of human empathy. Arguably a main reason humans are at the top of the food chain, empathy helps us collaborate and take care of each other in times of distress. If you’d like to learn more, Frans de Waal does a great job of examining empathy in a variety of animals, including humans, in his book The Age of Empathy.
And now, new reports have been published, which identify genes and an area of the brain associated with empathy in humans. If you know someone who is extra empathic, they might have a larger than normal anterior insular cortex or possess two “G” variants of an oxytocin receptor gene.
What does this all mean? As we better understand the biological processes that create empathy, we’ll understand why some people are extra kind and other people are assholes (and it’ll help us understand neuropsychiatric illnesses). Bridging this gap will bring us closer to a more peaceful society, and a better future for our children. What do you think?