Train Your Brain to Be More Sympathetic
By meditating on having compassion for someone in your life, a new study suggests that you can become a more sympathetic person in as little as two weeks.
By meditating on having compassion for someone in your life, a new study suggests that you can become a more sympathetic person in as little as two weeks. Conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, the study gave participants seven hours of practice during 30-minute sessions that spanned two weeks.
"Participants were told to observe the thoughts and feelings that arise as they imagine a time that each person has suffered. The goal is to give participants practice at tolerating their reactions, rather than avoiding them or getting too wrapped up in them."
The study then measured whether specific feelings of sympathy spilled over into broader areas, allowing us to have sympathy for people we don't know personally. Researchers performed tests in which participants were given the option of helping an anonymous stranger, finding that personal sympathy and impersonal sympathy activated similar parts of the brain.
When it comes to general feelings of sympathy, however, as Dan Ariely explains in his Big Think interview, it is much easier for us to have sympathy for a specific person than a whole group of people. For this reason, individual cases of hardship often receive more media attention than nation-wide problems.
Read more at Fast Company
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?
- Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
- The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
- These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now
To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.
A new study may help us better understand how children build social cognition through caregiver interaction.
Researchers at UT Southwestern noted a 47 percent increase in blood flow to regions associated with memory.
- Researchers at UT Southwestern observed a stark improvement in memory after cardiovascular exercise.
- The year-long study included 30 seniors who all had some form of memory impairment.
- The group of seniors that only stretched for a year did not fair as well in memory tests.