Empathy commonly refers to the emotional concern aroused by the affective state of another living person; nevertheless our daily relationships are characterized by interactions with both human and animal companions. Borrowing from standard definitions, empathy toward animals would consist of cognitive and affective components which respectively refer to recognizing and understanding an animal’s emotion, as well as to sharing and having emotional responses in line with its affective states. Research revealed that relationships with pets provide opportunities to develop empathy, and that childhood involvement with pets is related to more favorable attitudes toward animals later in life: in fact, because animals lack the verbal ability to communicate their concerns, humans must develop complex skills to understand their needs and desires. Nevertheless the neural correlates underlying these mechanisms have still to be explored and understood. The present study aimed to investigate common and specific neural correlates related to the processing of intra and interspecies interactions; particular attention was given to the valence of both interactions (positive, negative, neutral), as well as to motivational and personality components. A multi-method approach was applied and hemodynamic (NIRS), electrocortical (EEG) and autonomic measures were simultaneously recorded. Results in this study evidence the presence of both common and specific patterns for intra and interspecies interactions and suggest an alternative channel for the development of empathic competencies through the interactions with animals, with clinical and therapeutic implications.

Vanutelli, M. E., Balconi, M., Intra- and inter-species interactions: a neuroscientific perspective on empathy towards humans and animals, Poster, in Program of «The 14th European Congress of Psychology», (Milano, 07-10 July 2015), Italian Network of Psychologists’ Associations, Milano 2015: 47-47 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/70906]

Intra- and inter-species interactions: a neuroscientific perspective on empathy towards humans and animals

Vanutelli;Maria Elide; Balconi
2015

Abstract

Empathy commonly refers to the emotional concern aroused by the affective state of another living person; nevertheless our daily relationships are characterized by interactions with both human and animal companions. Borrowing from standard definitions, empathy toward animals would consist of cognitive and affective components which respectively refer to recognizing and understanding an animal’s emotion, as well as to sharing and having emotional responses in line with its affective states. Research revealed that relationships with pets provide opportunities to develop empathy, and that childhood involvement with pets is related to more favorable attitudes toward animals later in life: in fact, because animals lack the verbal ability to communicate their concerns, humans must develop complex skills to understand their needs and desires. Nevertheless the neural correlates underlying these mechanisms have still to be explored and understood. The present study aimed to investigate common and specific neural correlates related to the processing of intra and interspecies interactions; particular attention was given to the valence of both interactions (positive, negative, neutral), as well as to motivational and personality components. A multi-method approach was applied and hemodynamic (NIRS), electrocortical (EEG) and autonomic measures were simultaneously recorded. Results in this study evidence the presence of both common and specific patterns for intra and interspecies interactions and suggest an alternative channel for the development of empathic competencies through the interactions with animals, with clinical and therapeutic implications.
Inglese
Program of «The 14th European Congress of Psychology»
The 14th European Congress of Psychology
Milano
Poster
7-lug-2015
10-lug-2015
Vanutelli, M. E., Balconi, M., Intra- and inter-species interactions: a neuroscientific perspective on empathy towards humans and animals, Poster, in Program of «The 14th European Congress of Psychology», (Milano, 07-10 July 2015), Italian Network of Psychologists’ Associations, Milano 2015: 47-47 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/70906]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10807/70906
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