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Culture of Empathy Builder: Bhismadev Chakrabarti
 

Bhismadev Chakrabarti & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Science

 Bhismadev Chakrabarti heads a research group at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics at the University of Reading, UK. The group studies emotion perception, empathy, and autism using functional MRI, eye gaze tracking, and psychophysiology. He works in collaboration with the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. Bhisma shared his insights into the physical nature of empathy and how we can build a culture of empathy.

"Empathy is the lens through which we view emotions in others. The highly empathic can sense others' emotions automatically, while those with lower empathy are often marked by a deficit in picking up socio-emotional cues from other people. Empathy exists in a continuum across the population, and our research here targets the following questions:
a) how does empathy influence the perception of emotions in others and in ourselves?
b) what are the neural and behavioral processes underlying empathy?"
Sub Conference: Science

 

 

Bhismadev Chakrabarti & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Science

 
 

Unpicking the autism puzzle by linking empathy to reward

"Empathy is at the heart of human social life. It allows us to respond appropriately to others’ emotions and mental states. A perceived lack of empathy is also one of the symptoms that defines autism. Understanding this is key to devising effective therapies.

While empathic behaviour takes many forms, it is worthwhile to note at least two main sets of processes that are involved in empathising. One of these processes is a bottom-up, automatic response to others’ emotions. The classic example of this is breaking into giggles upon seeing another person giggle, without really knowing the reason why. The other is a top-down response, where we need to work out what another person must be feeling – a bit like solving a puzzle.
My research focuses on the bottom-up automatic component of empathy. "