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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

While there is increasing research on the benefits and facilitators of compassion, as with all motives, there are inhibitors. This chapter will not cover the benefits of compassion, explored in other chapters, but instead considers its inhibitors: the fears, blocks, and resistances (FBRs) to compassion and their evolutionary and psychosocial origins. We begin with an explication of a model for compassion, and show how compassion rests on discrete components and competencies that can be differentially inhibited. Next, we utilize Ernst Mayr’s (1961) classic heuristic to understand compassion inhibition; namely, the “ultimate” and “proximate” analysis. We conclude with an exploration of the antidotes to these inhibitors. Greater research into the nature of compassion inhibitors and insights on how to address them could increase the use of compassion in different domains of life.

Keywords: compassion, prosocial, facilitators, inhibitors, fears, blocks, resistances

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