U of C study: Children naturally empathetic

July 11, 2008 2:15:19 PM PDT
When children see others in pain, their brains seem to respond as if it were happening to them. Researchers from the University of Chicago say this suggests most children may be naturally prone to empathy.

For the study, participants were shown images of people experiencing pain, such as someone getting a hand slammed in a car door. As the children watched the pictures, researchers observed what was going on in their brains. They found that areas of the brain associated with empathy became active.

Researchers are hoping to use the results to better understand brain function in children who are aggressive or engage in behavior such as bullying.