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Monday, April 13, 2009

Forgiveness & Empathy Connected in the Brain

Our friend Mike McCullough, a professor of psychology at the University of Miami and the author of Beyond Revenge, appeared on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday to talk about the neuroscience of forgiveness. "Revenge and forgiveness are like two sides of the coin," he says. "We know absolutely that revenge is this universal feature of human nature, but we also know now that there is a natural, evolved capacity to forgive that also exists in every human mind on the planet."
Forgiveness, scientists have discovered, involves the anterior cingulate cortices, an area of the brain that's also associated with empathy—which means "forgiveness is born in part of the experience of somebody else's pain," McCullough says."It doesn't feel very good to people to seek revenge against people they feel sorry for." —Heather Wax