You are on page 1of 17

A Neuroscience Model of COMPASSION

Animal model of maternal care (Numan, 2006) Neuroimaging studies of human parenting responses Selective Investment Theory (Brown) Polyvagal Theory (Porges) Attachment Theory (Bowlby/Aimsworth) Social psychological literature on prosocial behavior, empathy, self-efficacy, intrinsic versus extrinsic motives, close relationships

The Motivational Command Center for Parental Behavior

The Medial Preoptic Area of the Hypothalamus (MPOA)

Functional Requirments (1)

Caregiving

system responds to cues for need and distress in others

Responding to cues for need?

Subgenual area of ACC (need)

Amygdala (threat)

MPOA

Functional Requirement (2)

Minimizes motivational conflict


Suppression of reward-seeking motives

Suppression of reward-seeking?

NAcc

MPOA
(Blocks Inhibitory Output to Motor Programs for Helping)

VTA

(rewardseeking)

Ventral Pallidum

HELP

Functional Requirement (3)

Minimizes motivational conflict


Suppression of reward-seeking motives Suppression of avoidance/self-preservation

motivation

Suppressing self-preservation motivation?

Amygdala

MPOA

Fight-or-Flight Stress Response Avoidance motivation

Functional Requirement (4)

Contingent on Availability of Resources to Invest


Sensitive to organisms level of self-efficacy

Sensitive to organisms level of self-efficacy ?

MPOA

VTA

Habenula (hopelessness)

Functional Requirement (5)

Contingent on Availability of Resources to Invest


Sensitive to organisms level of self-efficacy Sensitive to potential drain on ones own resources

with mechanisms to desensitize ones self to anothers needs when output is high or ineffective

Sensitive to drain on resources?

(Need/DEPRESSION) Subgenual area of ACC

MPOA

Functional Requirement (6)

Sensitive to cues for exploitation


Targeted investment to bonded partners

Targeted investment to bonded partners ?


Orbital frontal cortex (bimodal cells, social behavior)

MPOA

Functional Requirement (7)

Sensitive

to cues for exploitation

Targeted investment to bonded partners Resist forming with bad investment targets (e.g., stigma)

Resists forming with stigmatized partners?


Orbital frontal cortex (Social aversion) lateral

MPOA

Neuro-affective Model of Compassion


Relationship Variables
self/other overlap, closeness

Situational Variables (e.g., maternal experience, other forms of interdependence)

Caregiving Motivation
(e.g., compassion, empathy)

Stress Regulation
(e.g.,cardiovascular, hormonal recovery)

Cues for Helping


(e.g., baby crying, need)

Extrinisc Motivation
(e.g., Self-serving, coerced,

obligation)

Helping Behavior

Individual Differences Variables


efficacy, safety attachment style