Simon-Thomas, E. R., Godzik, J., Castle, E., Antonenko, E., Ponz, A., Kogan, A., & Keltner, D. J. (2012). An fMRI study of caring vs. self-focus during induced compassion and pride. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 7(6), 635-648. doi:10.1093/scan/nsr045
This study compared brain regions activated during compassion, an other-oriented emotion, to brain regions activated during pride, a more self-focused emotion. Slides were used to induce either compassion or pride and emotions were measured using fMRI. Compassion was associated with activity in the “empathy network,” regions of the brain responsible for pain and the perception of others’ pain as well as parental nurturing behaviors. Pride, on the other hand, was associated with activity in regions associated with thoughts about oneself.