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
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Riots may ensue as more poor Americans recognize their "miserable" long-term prospects.
- How bad is wealth inequality in the United States? About 1 percent of Americans hold 80 percent of the money.
- In the United States, the correlation between the income of parents and the income of their children when they grow up is higher than in any other country in the world.
- One of the big underlying reasons for poverty is receiving a crummy education, which in turn leads to crummy jobs. When people recognize their miserable long-term prospects, they are more likely to partake in riots.
If you don't want to know anything about your death, consider this your spoiler warning.
- For centuries cultures have personified death to give this terrifying mystery a familiar face.
- Modern science has demystified death by divulging its biological processes, yet many questions remain.
- Studying death is not meant to be a morbid reminder of a cruel fate, but a way to improve the lives of the living.
How many abortions are actually performed? Numbers reveal the complexity in the raging debate.
- The American society is close to split on the legality of abortions.
- 45,789,558 abortions were carried out in the U.S. between 1970 and 2015.
- The abortion numbers are at an all-time low now, trending almost half of what they were.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.