|Office Tel No.||+886-2-2826-7912|
Institute of Neuroscience,National Yang-Ming University
Rehabilitation Department,National Yang-Ming University Hospital(Yilan)
|Research||Neural mechanisms of empathy and sympathy|
Chengyi Chen Yi-Jhen Chen 洪群甯 周瀚寧 張筑鈞 陳薇如 黃昱 Marcelo Martinez cuevas
Jean Decety (University of Chicago, USA) Ching-Po Lin
My major interest is social neuroscience, using functional MRI, EEG/ERP, and MEG, based on social cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, and psychopathology, to investigate the biological underpinning of social interaction. Particularly, I focused on the neural mechanisms of empathy and sympathy. Empathy subsumes a variety of neurobiological circuits and partially dissociable social, emotional and cognitive subsystems that interact and operate in parallel fashion. These systems include bottom-up processing of sensorimotor resonance, affective arousal, and top-down processing in which the perceiver's motivation, intentions, and self-regulation interact with other components, and modulate the extent of an empathic experience and the likelihood of prosocial behavior. Under this theoretical framework, a number of distinct and interacting neural components contribute to the experience of empathy: (1) sensorimotor resonance relying on the perception-action coupling implemented by the mirror neuron system, (2) affective arousal, a bottom-up process in which the amygdala, hypothalamus, and orbitofrontal cortex prioritize emotionally salient information; (3) emotion awareness and understanding which involves the anterior insular cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex; and (4) emotion regulation which depends on executive functions instantiated in the intrinsic cortico-cortical connections of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex with limbic regions and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Each of these networks feeds both forward to other stages of processing thereby enhancing flexible and appropriate behavioral responses. Participants from my studies are typically developing infants, children, adults, and aging as well as individuals with social impairments, such as, autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, and psychopathy.