The 6th Workshop
Workshop | 2013.2.14

*This workshop was jointly held with the Center for the Education and Study od Social and Ecological Foundation of Mind..

Date: 14th, Feb, 2013

Location: Hokkaido University, Faculty of Letters, room E204

Participants: Tatsuya Kameda, Masaki Yuki, Nobuyuki Takahashi, Taiki Takahashi, Masanori Takezawa, and other 16 participants (total 21 participants)

Speakers: Mr. Toshiyuki Himichi (Department of Cognitive Psychology in Education, Kyoto University)

Title: Empathy facilitates helping behavior: Interrelationship between behavior, brain and genes.

Previous studies have shown that empathizing with a person in need facilitates helping behavior; however, the underlying mechanism involved in this phenomenon is still unclear. This presentation highlights the results of functional near-infrared spectroscopy and genotyping experiments, and discusses the mechanism from the integrated perspectives of psychology, neuroscience, and molecular biology. This approach exposed a multilayered mechanism, including that of individual difference due to gene factor (construct level, brain function level, neurotransmitter level and gene level). Focusing on the prefrontal cortex and catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158Met gene polymorphism, which is associated with dopamine metabolism, this presentation addresses two main points: (1) the mechanism by which inhibition of psychological stress, elicited by empathizing with the person in need, influences helping behavior, (2) the mechanism by which psychological stress influences inferring of another person’s mind.