- Oxford Library of Psychology
- Oxford Library of Psychology
- About the Editors
- The Landscape of Compassion: Definitions and Scientific Approaches
- Compassion in Context: Tracing the Buddhist Roots of Secular, Compassion-Based Contemplative Programs
- The Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis: What and So What?
- Is Global Compassion Achievable?
- Compassion in Children
- Parental Brain: The Crucible of Compassion
- Adult Attachment and Compassion: Normative and Individual Difference Components
- Compassion-Focused Parenting
- The Compassionate Brain
- Two Factors That Fuel Compassion: The Oxytocin System and the Social Experience of Moral Elevation
- The Impact of Compassion Meditation Training on the Brain and Prosocial Behavior
- Cultural Neuroscience of Compassion and Empathy
- Compassionate Neurobiology and Health
- The Roots of Compassion: An Evolutionary and Neurobiological Perspective
- Vagal Pathways: Portals to Compassion
- Empathy-Building Interventions: A Review of Existing Work and Suggestions for Future Directions
- Studies of Training Compassion: What Have We Learned; What Remains Unknown?
- The Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) Program
- Cognitively Based Compassion Training: Gleaning Generalities from Specific Biological Effects
- Compassion Collapse: Why We Are Numb to Numbers
- The Cultural Shaping of Compassion
- Enhancing Compassion: Social Psychological Perspectives
- Empathy, Compassion, and Social Relationships
- The Class–Compassion Gap: How Socioeconomic Factors Influence Compassion
- Changes Over Time in Compassion-Related Variables in the United States
- To Help or Not to Help: Goal Commitment and the Goodness of Compassion
- Self-Compassion and Psychological Well-being
- Compassion Fatigue Resilience
- Compassion Fears, Blocks and Resistances: An Evolutionary Investigation
- Organizational Compassion: Manifestations Through Organizations
- How Leaders Shape Compassion Processes in Organizations
- The Call for Compassion in Health Care
- A Call for Compassion and Care in Education: Toward a More Comprehensive Prosocial Framework for the Field
- Heroism: Social Transformation Through Compassion in Action
- Social Dominance and Leadership: The Mediational Effect of Compassion
Abstract and Keywords
How do we, as scientists, define compassion? Is it an emotional state, a motivation, a dispositional trait, or a cultivated attitude? In this introductory chapter, we set forth a working definition for compassion, situate compassion in the context of related terms and mental experiences, and orient readers to the key questions addressed by the authors in this handbook. Particular attention is paid to the evolutionary origins of compassion, the biological structures and processes implicated in compassion, the degree to which compassion is universal and variable across cultures, and documented approaches to fostering compassion. In closing, we explore the potential impact of training compassion on personal well-being, the quality of relationships, organizational success, and society more broadly.
Jennifer L. Goetz, Department of Psychology, Centre College, Danville, Kentucky, USA
Emiliana Simon-Thomas is the Science Director at the University of California–Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (GGSC). Among other initiatives, she runs the GGSC Research Fellowship program and co-instructs “GG101x: The Science of Happiness,” a massive open online course that has over 450,000 students enrolled worldwide. Simon-Thomas is trained in cognitive and affective neuroscience, and her work currently focuses on: (1) how pro-social tendencies like compassion, generosity, and gratitude can benefit health and well-being at individual, interpersonal, and society-wide levels; and (2) how to strengthen and assess the impact of increasing pro-social habits within the self, families, communities, and institutions.
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