Published Research Supported By CCARE Scientists.
Since its inception, CCARE has supported and collaborated on a number of groundbreaking research projects that have resulted in cross-disciplinary publications on the science of compassion. Below, please find a list of our publications with a summary of their findings.
Peer Review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility. In academia peer review is often used to determine an academic paper’s suitability for publication.
Genevsky, A., & Knutson, B. (2015). Neural affective mechanisms predict market-level microlending. Psychological Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0956797615588467
Researchers investigate the neural mechanisms in which microloans receive approval based on the elicitation of positive affect by applicant’s photographs in two separate studies: one internet and the other a neuroimaging study. The internet study showed that positive affect in applicant photographs promoted loan success. The neuroimaging study further extended the internet findings by showing lender’s active regions in the brain where positive emotions are closely associated with, the nucleus accumbens, as well as self-reported positive affect by lenders who approved loans for those applicants who had high ratings of eliciting positive emotions. Implications for the role of affective neuroscience in microlending success and market-level behaviors are discussed.
Jazaieri, H., Lee, I. A., McGonigal, K., Jinpa, T., Doty, J. R., Gross, J. J., & Goldin, P. (2015). A wandering mind is a less caring mind: Daily experience sampling during compassion meditation training. Journal of Positive Psychology. doi:10.1080/17439760.2015.1025418
The effects of the Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) program, a 9-week, twice daily compassion meditation, was found to reduce mind wandering towards neutral thoughts and increased caring behaviors for oneself. Further path analysis indicated that compassion meditation was associated with reduced mind wandering for unpleasant thoughts and increased mind wandering to pleasant thoughts, and that both were associated with increased caring behavior for oneself and others. This is the first known study to lend partial support that formal compassion training reduces mind wandering while increasing caring behavior not only for oneself but also for others.
Neff, K. D., & Seppala, E. M. (2016). Compassion, well-being, and the hypoegoic self. In K. W. Brown & M. Leary (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Hypo-egoic Phenomena. Theory and Research on the Quiet Ego (pp. 189-202). Oxford University Press.
Seppala, E. M., Hutcherson, C. A., Nguyen, D. T. H., Doty, J. R., & Gross, J. J. (2014). Loving-kindness meditation: A tool to improve healthcare provider compassion, resilience, and patient care. Journal of Compassionate Healthcare. doi:10.1186/s40639-014-0005-9
Stress and burnout is prevalent in the healthcare industry. Numerous research focused on reducing these strains on healthcare professionals can be time-consuming and intensive. Thus, this study sought to investigate the effectiveness of a short, 10- minute compassion-inducing intervention, lovingkindness meditation (LKM), to attempt to address this obvious disconnected need for a short, non-intensive, and effective intervention. LKM was compared to a positive affect induction (self-focus) and a neutral control condition. Ten minutes of LKM showed increased explicit as well as implicit levels of well-being and feelings of social connection to others and decreased focus on the self. Implications for decreasing burnout and improving patient care is discussed.
Martin, D., Seppala, E., Heineberg, Y., Rossomando, T., Doty, J., Zimbardo, P., Shiue, T.-T., Berger, R., & Zhou, Y. Y. (2015). Multiple facets of compassion: The impact of social dominance orientation and economic systems justification. Journal of Business Ethics, 129(1), 237-249. doi:10.1007/s10551-014-2157-0
Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) is a hierarchical worldview that ascribes people to social rankings and is often found in high levels among business school students. To establish the relationship between individual differences in compassion, SDO, and free ESJ (Economic Systems Justification), partial correlations were run controlling for social desirability to response bias. As anticipated, a significant correlation between ESJ and SDO was established. Significant correlations between SDO and low levels of Self-Compassion supported the hypotheses that those with higher levels of SDO have lower levels of self-compassion.
Seppala, E. M., Nitschke, J. B., Tudorascu, D. L., Hayes, A., Goldstein, M. R., Nguyen, D. T. H., Perlman, D., & Davidson, R. J. (2014). Breathing-based meditation decreases posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in U.S. military veterans: A randomized controlled longitudinal study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 27, 397-405. doi:10.1002/jts.21936
This study examined the effects of a breathing-based meditation intervention, Sudarshan Kriya yoga, on PTSD outcome variables in U.S. male veterans of the Iraq or Afghanistan war. Laboratory measures of eye-blink startle and respiration rate were obtained before and after the intervention, as were self-report symptom measures. The active group showed reductions in PTSD scores, anxiety symptoms, and respiration rate, but the control group did not. Reductions in startle correlated with reductions in hyperarousal symptoms immediately postintervention. This longitudinal intervention study suggests there may be clinical utility for Sudarshan Kriya yoga for PTSD.
Feinberg, M., Antonenko, O., Willer, R., Horberg, E. J., & John, O. P. (2014). Gut check: Reappraisal of disgust helps explain liberal-conservative differences on issues of purity. Emotion, 14(3), 513-521. doi:10.1037/a0033727
In a series of three studies, this article examines the extent to which the emotion-regulation strategy, reappraisal, drives the disgust-conservatism relationship. This article presents evidence that conservatives instructed to reappraise their reactions to a video of men-kissing subsequently expressed more support for same-sex marriage than conservatives in the control condition.
Feinberg, M., & Willer, R. (2013). The moral roots of environmental attitudes. Psychological Science, 24(1), 56-62. doi:10.1177/0956797612449177
This article highlights three studies on the attitudes Americans have about the environment and examines the causes that lead to the political polarization of environmental issues. The first of the three studies found that liberals consider the environment issues in moral terms. The second study found that environmental discourse found in newspaper op-eds and public-service announcements is framed in moral concern centered on harm and care, which is a belief more embraced by liberals. The third study found that by reframing proenvironmental rhetoric in terms of purity, a different moral value embraced by conservatives, reduced the political polarization. This provides evidence for a need to reframe environmental discourse in different moral terms to reduce political polarization of environmental issues.
Gunaydin, L. A., Grosenick, L., Finkelstein, J. C., Kauvar, I. V., Fenno, L. E., Adhikari, A., Lammel, S., Mirzabekov, J. J., Airan, R. D., Zalocusky, K. A., Tye, K. M., Anikeeva, P., Malenka, R. C., & Deisseroth, K. (2014). Natural neural projection dynamics underlying social behavior. Cell, 157(7), 1535-1551. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2014.05.017
This study applied fiber photometry to elucidate circuit level pathways of endogenous neural activity during social interaction. Results revealed the activity dynamic of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to nucleus accumbens (NAc) could encode and predict key features of social interaction. The study found that the optogenetic control of cells specifically contributing to this projection was sufficient to modulate social behavior, which was mediated by type 1 dopamine receptors signaling downstream in the NAc.
Ruchelli, G., Chapin, H., Darnall, B., Seppala, E., Doty, J., & Mackey, S. (2014). Compassion meditation training for people living with chronic pain and their significant others: a pilot study and mixed-methods analysis. The Journal of Pain, 15(4), S117. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2014.01.479
A pilot study of limited female participants with chronic pain who received 9, two-hour weekly sessions of compassion meditation training (Compassion Cultivation Training or CCT). Pre- and post self-reports were completed by participants with chronic pain as well as their significant other. It was hypothesized that not only participants with chronic pain would receive benefits from CCT but also the benefits would extend to their significant other without actually going through the training themselves. Participants with chronic pain reported a significant reduction in pain severity and anger and an increase in well-being indicators such as self-acceptance and environmental mastery; however, only a reduced trend was found for anger in significant others.