Neural correlates of compassion - An integrative systematic review

Lukas Novak*, Klara Malinakova, Petr Mikoska, Jitse P. van Dijk, Peter Tavel

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

Onderzoeksoutputpeer review

2 Citaten (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


Compassion is a psychological construct that has received increasing attention in recent years. Even though a lot of work has been done to identify neural correlates of empathy across studies, such work has not been properly done on neural correlates of compassion. Therefore, the aim was to systematically review the literature on neural correlates of compassion.We have searched through PsycINFO, PubMed and Web of Science for relevant articles published between 1985 and 2020. We included the studies (n = 35) examining the relationship between brain structure or function and compassion. Screening was performed by two authors, between whom a level of agreement was calculated. The quality of the studies was assessed by measures used in other studies as well by measures specific for our study aims. This study was conducted under PRISMA guidelines.Our analysis revealed that the most frequent neural associations with compassion across all analysed studies can be found in the orbital part of the left inferior frontal gyrus, in the right cerebellum, the bilateral middle temporal gyrus, in the bilateral insula and the right caudate nucleus.Our findings suggest that people displaying a lower compassion tend to have either lower neural activity or a grey matter volume in neural areas associated with reward.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)46-59
Aantal pagina's14
TijdschriftInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
StatusPublished - feb.-2022

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