“In three studies, lower-class individuals (compared with upper-class individuals) received higher scores on a test of empathic accuracy (Study 1), judged the emotions of an interaction partner more accurately (Study 2), and made more accurate inferences about emotion from static images of muscle movements in the eyes (Study 3). Moreover, the association between social class and empathic accuracy was explained by the tendency for lower-class individuals to explain social events in terms of features of the external environment.”
- Social Class, Contextualism, and Empathic Accuracy // Psychological Science
“But what if people who are financially well-off get that way because they’re more self-focused? What if wealth doesn’t affect empathy, but empathy affects wealth? To find out, the researchers recruited 81 different students. This time, they asked some of the students to visualize an extraordinarily wealthy individual — someone like Bill Gates, Kraus said.
Next, the students were told to place themselves on the socioeconomic ladder, imagining their wealthy individual at the top. Thinking of the Gates-like figure triggered the students to place themselves lower on the ladder than they otherwise would have. Other students were told to imagine someone completely destitute; those students placed themselves relatively higher on the ladder.
Finally, the 81 students looked at 36 close-up photographs of eyes and judged the emotions portrayed in the pictures. Sure enough, those manipulated into seeing themselves as lower-class scored 6 percent better than those manipulated into perceiving themselves as well-off.
That was a critical finding, Kraus said.
“If you manipulate, then you can talk about class leading to empathy,” he said.
thought I’d already posted this but I guess not. Also this affiliated blog Psych Your Mind is neat.
“The growing length of childhood coevolved with the enlarging of the brain - which has tripled in size over the last 2.5 million years, since the time of the first tool-making hominids - and with the development of complex bonding, which includes friendship, romantic love, parent-child attachment, and loyalty to a group.
As the brain grew bigger, childhood needed to be longer since there was so much to learn. To keep a vulnerable child alive for many years, we evolved strong bonds between parents and children, between mates, within extended family groups, and within bands as a whole - all in order to sustain “the village it takes to raise a child.” Bands with better teamwork outcompeted other bands for scarce resources; since breeding occurred primarily within bands, genes for bonding, cooperation, and altruism proliferated within the human genome.
Numerous physical, social, and psychological factors promote bonding. Let’s focus on physical factors, and then drill down further to examine two chemicals inside your brain: dopamine and oxytocin. Both are neurotransmitters, and oxytocin also functions as a hormone when it acts outside the nervous system…”
this article, in Psychology Today, written by neuropsychologist/buddhist/co-founder of wisebrain.org rick hanson, goes on to talk about how dopamine has rewards/addiction mechanisms, and leads to increase in testosterone (ie sex drive), and how oxytocin’s experiential qualities are “pleasurable feelings of relaxation and rightness,” promotes bonding, is released with extended physical contact, orgasms, moving together harmoniously, probably during devotional/spiritual experiences, the stimulation of nipples, and more!
“She also found that those who had more activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex and greater emotional regulation after a fight displayed more cognitive control in laboratory tests, indicating a link between emotion regulation and broader cognitive control skills.”
I think it was early in college while hangin with some gamer guys that I no longer believed in the duality between thinking/feeling, reason/emotion. There was a debate about what is more important, and some boys felt that logic overrode feelings, while others of us felt that they were inseparable, or rather that constructing them in opposition was neither reasonable or humane. More recently, in learning more about zen buddhism and its concepts of non-self or non-duality, it’s hard not to feel like science, philosophy, etc. are just beginning to shear at the hems of the umbrella-skirt of buddhism and daoism. The everchanging fabric of our interconnected reality, moving infinity, has been so wrinkled and soiled by syrupy untruths of difference, individualism, labor as life, etc.
What brought this on was the article quoted above called “Brain predicts partner’s emotional resiliency,” or what I like to re-interpret in unprivileging monogamy as “link found between greater emotional resiliency and broader cognitive control skills.” This unprivileging is based on my idea of heteronormativity as a dominating reality with monogamy being one facet. Michael Hardt, in his struggle to resolve the present problem that people are not able to rule themselves, asks what are the capacities people have now that can direct them toward self-government and finds some insight in love as a political concept. He talks about ways in which the idea of love has been corrupted/destroyed is by usurping its definition within the (hetero) couple and family.
My concern is that when we are all struggling to resist the oppressive terrors of alienation (its persistence within individuals, its systemic cultivations), we often get caught up in movements of resistance and opposition that we lose sight of, ahem—dareisayit, peace and love.
So it seems unsurprising that there’s a correlation between cognition capacity and emotional stability because it’s all part of the big harmony of the universe found in silence. This is part of why I say brainheart because they’re inseparable.
“Perceptions of distance depend in part on the desirability of the perceived object—which depends, in turn, on its capacity to satisfy a visceral or intrapsychic need. The effect of desirability on distance perception was observed in numeric reports, and it was also observed when we used techniques that are standard in perceptual research (action-based and visual matching measures) for measuring the behavioral consequences of perceptual biases. We suggest that these biases arise in order to encourage perceivers to engage in behaviors leading to the acquisition of the object.”
- More Desired Objects are Seen as Closer // Emily Balcetis and David Dunning in A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science