http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2010/04...-neurally.htmlEmpathy for one's own race neurally distinct from empathy from mankind
From the related public release:
In a rare neuroscience look at racial minorities, the study shows that African-Americans showed greater empathy for African-Americans facing adversity – in this case for victims of Hurricane Katrina – than Caucasians demonstrated for Caucasian-Americans in pain.
"We found that everybody reported empathy toward the Hurricane Katrina victims," said Joan Y. Chiao, assistant professor of psychology and author of the study. "But African-Americans additionally showed greater empathic response to other African-Americans in emotional pain."
The more African-Americans identified as African-American the more likely they were to show greater empathic preference for African-Americans, the study showed.
Neural basis of extraordinary empathy and altruistic motivation
Vani A. Mathur et al.
A central evolutionary challenge for social groups is uniting a heterogeneous set of individuals towards common goals. One means by which social groups form and endure is by endowing group members with extraordinary prosocial proclivities, such as ingroup love, towards other group members. Here we examined the neural basis of extraordinary empathy and altruistic motivation in African-American and Caucasian-American individuals using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Our results indicate that empathy for ingroup members is neurally distinct from empathy for humankind, more generally. People showed greater response within anterior cingulate cortex and bilateral insula when observing the suffering of others, but African-American individuals additionally recruit medial prefrontal cortex when observing the suffering of members of their own social group. Moreover, neural activity within medial prefrontal cortex in response to pain expressed by ingroup relative to outgroup members predicted greater empathy and altruistic motivation for one's ingroup, suggesting that neurocognitive processes associated with self identity underlie extraordinary empathy and altruistic motivation for members of one's own social group. Taken together, our findings reveal distinct neural mechanisms of empathy and altruistic motivation in an intergroup context and may serve as a foundation for future research investigating the neural bases of intergroup prosociality, more broadly construed.
Usually for Altruism and Empathy to be really effective in larger number of people this feelings have to be somewhat more clear and directed, limited or hierarchical.
Thats just natural, because after all, it was in our evolutionary past primarily about kin selection and strengthening the own group, defined by ancestry and cultural inventar (genes and memes).
This is very important, not just for how evolution worked in the past (group competition and selection, higher individual and group selection), especially in the biodynamic centres, but even more so if looking at so called "multicultural societies" in which there is no such strong connectional element among the people.
Dienekes refers to this as the "friction", I described this also by the end result, an individualised and fractionised society. Simply put: A society in which egoism and pseudoindividualism rule, individuals are therefore easier to rule by their lower instincts and personal dependence, this is what Capitalism is heading to and the Plutocratic Oligarchy wants.
Another very important article about how we perceive other people's action if they are from the own/known group or not:
http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2010/04...izes-race.htmlApril 27, 2010
Human brain recognizes race
From the public release:
Typically, when people observe others perform a simple task, their motor cortex region fires similarly to when they are performing the task themselves. However, the UofT research team, led by PhD student Jennifer Gutsell and Assistant Professor Dr. Michael Inzlicht, found that participants' motor cortex was significantly less likely to fire when they watched the visible minority men perform the simple task. In some cases when participants watched the non-white men performing the task, their brains actually registered as little activity as when they watched a blank screen.
From the paper:
A deficit in the spontaneous ‘‘catching” of outgroup members’ actions and intentions can have serious consequences for intergroup interactions. Perception–action-coupling, and the sharing of somatic, autonomic, and emotional states, facilitate social understanding and foster helping, morality, altruism, and justice
(Batson et al., 1997; Cialdini, Brown, Lewis, Luce, & Neuberg, 1997). Thus, people might not be as responsive to outgroup member’s needs and feelings and be less likely to understand their intentions; they might also be less likely to help and effectively communicate with them.
This sounds like a good example of what I called friction in a recent post.
Also from the paper:
When we breakdown the omnibus outgroup correlation into the specific racial outgroups, we find results that are consistent with a Canadian context: the correlation was strongest for South-Asians, r (28) = .56, p less than .01, and followed by Blacks, r (28) = .36, p = .05; the correlation for East Asians, however, fell below traditional levels of significance, r (28) = .30, p = .11. Since mu activity is inversely related to motor cortex activity, these findings suggest that the more participants are prejudiced, the less their motor cortex fires in response to the passive viewing of outgroup members’ actions—an effect that is magnified for disliked outgroups (South-Asians, then Blacks, followed by East Asians).
The order of the outgroups suggests that genetic-phenotypic similarity is not the end-all, as South Asians are closer to whites but perhaps less familiar to them, due to a shorter period of their presence in Western societies.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2010.03.011
Empathy constrained: Prejudice predicts reduced mental simulation of actions during observation of outgroups
Jennifer N. Gutsell, and Michael Inzlicht
Perception–action-coupling refers to the vicarious activation of the neural system for action during perception of action, and is considered important for forms of interpersonal sensitivity, including empathy. We hypothesize that perception–action-coupling is limited to the ingroup: neural motor networks will fire upon the perception of action, but only when the object–person belongs to the ingroup; if the object–person belongs to an outgroup these motor neurons will not fire. Using electroencephalographic oscillations as an index of perception–action-coupling, we found exactly this: participants displayed activity over motor cortex when acting and when observing ingroups act, but not when observing outgroups – an effect magnified by prejudice and for disliked groups (South-Asians, then Blacks, followed by East Asians). These findings provide evidence from brain activity for yet another detrimental aspect of prejudice: a spontaneous and implicit simulation of others’ action states may be limited to close others and, without active effort, may not be available for outgroups.