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The Neuroscience of Compassion

Friday September 16 from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM.
Symposium from 11:30 on in Lecture Hall 1

Sponsored by Stony Brook University's Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics

Several independent lines of scientific inquiry that suggest humans are compassionate by nature, and that those who are compassionate have better heath and live longer compared to those who do not help others. Some efforts to understand the health effects of compassion have turned to neurobiology for answers, as way to study and understand how compassionate behavior involves bodily processes that influence morbidity and mortality. Our presenters consist of faculty and students who began their efforts to study the neuroscience of compassion at the University of Michigan, and who will discuss some of the key methodological and substantive issues surrounding this emerging new field, with an eye toward understanding the relevance to health and medical education.

Workshop 9:00-11:15 Please contact Dr. Brown ( if you would like to attend

Trends in Social Science and Medicine: Value and Feasibility of Combining Neuroendocrine, Cardiovascular, Facial EMG, and Neuroimaging methods for studying Compassion
9:00-9:30 Stephanie Brown & David Reinhard

Measuring Oxytocin and Progesterone (Compassion Hormones) in a Laboratory vs Ecological Setting and Results from Recent Studies
9:30- 9:45 Dylan Smith

How Genetic Testing Can inform the Science of Compassion
9:45 – 10:00 Michael Poulin

Studying Compassion in the Scanner: Tasks, protocols, and pitfalls
10:00-10:15 Shaun Ho

The Parental Brain informs Compassionate Motivation and Behavior
10:15 - 10:45 James Swain

Declining Empathy in the United States
10:45-11:15 Sara Konrath

Symposium: Neuroscience of Compassion and Implications for Health 11:30-1:00
Pizza will be served

Neuroscience and Health: Relevance of Oxytocin, Progesterone and Stress Regulation
11:30 – 11:45 Heather Cameron

Using Evolutionary Theories of Altruism and Neurobiological Models of Parenting to Inform the Compassion and the Teaching of Compassionate Care
11:45-12:00 (Stephanie Brown)

Linking Compassionate Behavior to Physical and Mental Health: Volunteering and Mortality; Compassionate Behavior, Stress, and Health; Parenting Responses and Mental Health
12:00 - 1:00 (Sara Konrath, Michael Poulin & James Swain)