How your brain drives empathy

Empathy is an incredible force, granting you the power to connect with others on both an emotional and intellectual level. It narrows the gap between individuals, promoting social unity and cohesion. If you’re interested in how this happens, here are some key points from an article about the parts of your brain involved in feeling empathy.

Mirror neurons play an important role in empathy. These fascinating neurons respond to others’ movements, expressions and actions – and help connect with and seem to experience the same sensations as them.

This process of mirroring starts during infancy, when babies observe their caregivers’ faces. By mimicking, infants learn to decipher adults’ gestures and facial expressions. This sets them up to recognise and respond to others’ emotions.


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In addition to mirror neurons, being empathic also involves using your prefrontal cortex (PFC). This is responsible for regulating social behaviour and understanding others’ perspectives. The anterior insula is also involved in processing emotional experiences. It helps you differentiate between your own emotions and those of others.

Understanding the neurobiological bases of empathy has significant implications  for your professional life. Working on your emotional intelligence and empathy can improve your relationships with co-workers, clients and customers. It will make you more influential, impactful and respected.

Read the original article for more information about your brain on empathy here.

This article summary was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer, success coach and people skills expert. She helps managers and business owners build thriving teams and organisations, using tools from Positive Psychology. She's trained more than 60,000 people during her career as a corporate trainer and professional development consultant. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference.