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共情的神经科学与道德

Diana Kwon 2017-5-09
陈明 译
Finding empathy in the brain
在大脑中寻找共情

Psychologists define empathy in myriad ways, and some see compassion as a component of empathy rather than separate from it. ‘You can find almost as many definitions of empathy as you can find people writing about empathy,’ says Cikara.

心理学家用各种各样的方式来定义共情,有些人认为悲悯是共情的一部分,而不是与之分开的事物。你可以找到很多对共情的定义,如同你找到的人们关于共情的作品”Cikara说。

Empathy is often described as a combination of three factors: cognitive empathy (thinking about another’s emotions), emotional empathy (sharing another’s emotions), and motivational empathy (caring about another’s emotions – or compassion). ‘Empathy is not just one thing, but rather it’s an umbrella term that describes the different ways that people respond to each other’s emotions,’ Zaki explains.

共情通常被描述为三个因素的结合:认知共情(思考他人的情绪),情绪共情(分享他人的情绪),和动机共情(关心他人的情绪或悲悯)。“共情不只是一件东西,而是描述人们对彼此的情绪反应的不同方式的总称,”Zaki解释道。

Each of these, though closely connected, are actually independent psychological and neurological processes. In recent years, as researchers have started to probe the brain to better understand how empathy works at the neural level, studies are beginning to show how these three components can be teased apart in the brain.

每一种共情,虽然紧密相连,实际上是独立的心理和神经过程。近年来,当研究人员开始探索大脑,以便更好地理解共情在神经层面上的作用时,研究开始显示大脑中的这三种成分是如何被分开的。

At the very basic level, neuroscientists have found that empathy stimulates shared representations in the brain – participants activate the same neural areas in response to feeling pain and observing others in pain. Social neuroscientists like Claus Lamm at the University of Vienna have been using a variety of neuroimaging techniques such as functional MRI to study the underlying brain mechanisms of empathy. The classical approach for studying this, according to Lamm, is the pain paradigm, where researchers place participants in an MRI scanner and record their neural activity as they receive painful shocks or observe others getting a painful shock.

在最基本的层面上,神经科学家发现共情在大脑中刺激了共享的表征——参与者在感觉疼痛和观察他人痛苦时激活了同一个神经区域。社会科学家Claus Lamm在维也纳大学已采用多种影像学技术如功能磁共振成像研究 了大脑共情的潜在机制。根据Lamm的说法,该研究的经典方法是疼痛范例,研究人员将参与者放置在MRI扫描仪中,记录他们在受到痛苦的冲击或观察其他人痛苦的冲击的神经活动。

In recent studies, Lamm and his colleagues have discovered that these activations can be artificially manipulated. One functional MRI study revealed that giving participants placebo painkillers decreased activation in brain areas associated with pain and empathy for pain. Further, they found that opioid-blockers could block the placebo’s reduction for both one’s own pain responses as well as the empathic response for another’s suffering.

在最近的研究中,Lamm和他的同事们发现,这些活化(activations)可以被人为操纵。一项功能磁共振成像研究显示,给予参与者服用安慰剂止痛药能降低与疼痛和共情相关的大脑区域的激活。此外,他们发现阿片受体阻断剂可以阻断安慰剂对自身疼痛反应的抑制作用,也可以阻断对另一个人痛苦的共情反应。

Studies have also shown that cognitive empathy, emotional empathy and compassion all activate unique networks in the brain, and that this activation predicts different behavioral outcomes. ‘What the neuroscientific investigation do is that they basically confirm what the social psychologists have suggested for quite some time already,’ Lamm told me.

研究还表明,认知共情,情绪共情和悲悯都在大脑中激活了独特的网络,并且这种激活预测了不同的行为结果。“神经科学调查的做法是,他们基本确认社会心理学家已经提出了一段时间的观点”Lamm告诉我。

A force for good and evil
善与恶的力量

Perhaps the best way to think about empathy is as an entity separate from morality. Batson himself suggested this in a 2009 article where he wrote: ‘Empathy-induced altruism is, we suggest, best thought of as neither moral nor immoral, but amoral.’

也许思考共情的最好方法是将其作为与道德分开的实体。Batson在他自己2009的文章中写道“,我们建议,移情 催生的利他主义,最好被认为即不是道德的也不是不道德的,而是不属于道德范畴的。”

Empathy is a powerful force, capable of doing good and harm. Some psychologists believe that humanity would best thrive if we avoided it all together and relied instead on rational, reasoned thought. Other see a more delicate balance – that both are necessary to make the world a better place. ‘What Paul’s saying is that if you’re going to get fairness or justice in the society, empathy-induced altruism is not necessarily the best way,’ says Batson. ‘My own bias is that reasoned moral thought alone isn’t the best way either. The kind of change Paul’s talking about takes the two working together.’

共情是一种强大的力量,能够做好事并带来伤害。一些心理学家认为,如果我们 一起避而不顾(共情),进而依靠理性,理性的思考,人类就会茁壮成长。其他人看到一种更微妙的平衡——两者都是使世界变得更美好的必要条件。“保罗所说的,如果你要在社会上得到公平或正义的话,共情导致的利他主义的未必是最好的方式,”Batson说,“我自己的偏见是,理性的道德思想并不是最好的方法。保罗所说的那种改变需要两者的共同努力。

Overall, it is important to know when to empathise and to assess the motives of people who try to stir our emotions with a critical light. Learning to numb our reactions to stories some politicians tell may ultimately help make our world a better place.

总的来说,重要的是要知道什么时候用批判鉴别之光去理解和评价那些试图激发我们的情绪与动机。学习对政治家告诉我们的故事无动于衷,可能有助于让我们的世界变得更美好。


新一篇:为什么我们感觉如此孤独?
旧一篇:研究表明心理学学生更可爱


标签: 共情

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