BUFFALO, N.Y. – Empathy is among humanity’s defining characteristics. Understanding another person’s plight can inspire gentle emotions and encourage nurturing behaviors.
Yet under certain circumstances, feelings of warmth, tenderness and sympathy can in fact predict aggressive behaviors, according to a recent study by two University at Buffalo researchers.
That an expression of kindness might be manifest as a punch in the nose can leave observers scratching their heads.
Tag Archives | Kindness
Should this procedure be made mandatory? Via the Huffington Post:
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A woman developed “hyper empathy” after having a part of her brain called the amygdala removed in an effort to treat her severe epilepsy, according to a report of her case.
Doctors removed parts of her temporal lobe, including the amygdala. The surgery is a common treatment for people with severe forms of temporal lobe epilepsy.
After the surgery, the woman reported a “new, spectacular emotional arousal,” that has persisted for 13 years to this date. Her empathy seemed to transcend her body — the woman reported feeling physical effects along with her emotions, such as a “spin at the heart” when experiencing empathic sadness or anger. She reported these feelings when seeing people on TV, meeting people in person, or reading about characters in novels.
She also described an increased ability to decode others’ mental states, including their emotions.
A peace offering from our aquatic brethren? Discovery reports:
On 23 occasions over the past several years, wild dolphins were observed giving gifts to humans at the Tangalooma Island Resort in Australia. The gifts included eels, tuna, squid, an octopus and an assortment of many other types of different fin fish. While these gifts might not be your choice for Christmas, some of the items that were offered to humans are highly valued food sources for cetaceans such as dolphins.
The wild dolphins that were observed giving gifts to human in Australia were regular visitors to a provisioning program at the Tangalooma Island Resort. Dolphins of diverse ages and both sexes engaged in the gift-giving behavior, and scientists are not entirely sure of what is motivating their behavior.
Last year while I was traveling through Europe blindly, not knowing a single person or where I would stay, amazing strangers opened up their homes and lives to me in beautiful acts of kindness. The most memorable of strangers was French activist and We Are Change Paris member Joel Boujassy.