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E-Communication Might Be Outpacing Emotion
Date:4/13/2009

of virtue or social pain in as little as six to eight seconds, but responses to stories of physical pain took less than a second to kick in. However, the responses to virtue and social pain last longer.

The lack of a lasting response may inure people to the images of pain and suffering that litter modern-day media, the study found.

Both admiration and compassion also elicited responses in the areas of the brain considered more "primal," suggesting that compassion and admiration may have evolutionary roots.

The authors postulated that teaching and cultural forms, not to mention adequate pause for reflection, could help counteract this trend and lead people back toward a fuller relationship with their fellow men and women.

More information

Harvard University has more on how the brain works.



SOURCES: Karen Hunter, distinguished lecturer, department of film and media, Hunter College, New York City; April 13, 2009, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online


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