Neural Reactivity to Emotional Faces May Mediate the Relationship Between Childhood Empathy and Adolescent Prosocial Behavior

Contributed by jflournoy

John C. Flournoy, Jennifer H. Pfeifer, William E. Moore, Allison M. Tackman, Carrie L. Masten, John C. Mazziotta, Marco Iacoboni and Mirella Dapretto
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AuthorsJohn C. Flournoy, Jennifer H. Pfeifer, William E. Moore, Allison M. Tackman, Carrie L. Masten, John C. Mazziotta, Marco Iacoboni and Mirella Dapretto
DescriptionReactivity to others’ emotions not only can result in empathic concern (EC), an important motivator of prosocial behavior, but can also result in personal distress (PD), which may hinder prosocial behavior. Examining neural substrates of emotional reactivity may elucidate how EC and PD differentially influence prosocial behavior. Participants (N = 57) provided measures of EC, PD, prosocial behavior, and neural responses to emotional expressions at ages 10 and 13. Initial EC predicted subsequent prosocial behavior. Initial EC and PD predicted subsequent reactivity to emotions in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and inferior parietal lobule, respectively. Activity in the IFG, a region linked to mirror neuron processes, as well as cognitive control and language, mediated the relation between initial EC and subsequent prosocial behavior.
JournalChild Development
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DOI10.1111/cdev.12630
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id1009
Add DateDec. 11, 2015, 10:27 p.m.