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Brain Sci. 2018, 8(7), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8070128

Trait Emotional Empathy and Resting State Functional Connectivity in Default Mode, Salience, and Central Executive Networks

1
Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3E 0J9, Canada
2
St. Boniface Hospital Research, Catholic Health Corporation of Manitoba, Compassion Project, Winnipeg, MB R2H 2A6, Canada
3
Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
4
Department of Psychology, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB R3B 2E9, Canada
5
Department of Radiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3A 1R9, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 27 June 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 6 July 2018
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Abstract

Emotional empathy is the ability to experience and/or share another person’s emotional states and responses. Although some research has examined the neural correlates of emotional empathy, there has been little research investigating whether this component of empathy is related to the functional connectivity of resting state networks in the brain. In the current study, 32 participants answered a trait emotional empathy questionnaire in a session previous to their functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. Results indicate that emotional empathy scores were correlated with different patterns of functional connectivity in the default mode network (DMN), salience network (SN), and left and right central executive networks. For example, within the DMN, emotional empathy scores positively correlated with connectivity in the premotor cortex. Within the SN, empathy scores were positively correlated with the fusiform gyrus and cuneus. These findings demonstrate that emotional empathy is associated with unique patterns of functional connectivity in four of the brain’s resting state networks. View Full-Text
Keywords: emotional empathy; resting state; functional connectivity; functional magnetic resonance imaging emotional empathy; resting state; functional connectivity; functional magnetic resonance imaging
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Bilevicius, E.; Kolesar, T.A.; Smith, S.D.; Trapnell, P.D.; Kornelsen, J. Trait Emotional Empathy and Resting State Functional Connectivity in Default Mode, Salience, and Central Executive Networks. Brain Sci. 2018, 8, 128.

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