If you consider your friends family, you may be on to something. A study from the University of California, San Diego, and Yale University finds that friends who are not biologically related still resemble each other genetically.
The human brain can be exquisitely attuned to other people, thanks in part to its so-called mirror system. The mirror system is composed of a network of brain regions that become active both when you perform an action (say, squeezing a rubber ball in your hand) and when you observe someone elsewho performs the same action (squeezing a rubber ball in his hand).
Our brains appear to be able to intimately resonate with others’ actions, and this process may allow us not only to understand what they are doing, but also, in some sense, to experience it ourselves — i.e., to empathize.
In our study, we induced a set of participants to temporarily feel varying levels of power by asking them to write a brief essay about a moment in their lives.
============================ Does this mean that the powerful are heartless beings incapable of empathy? ===================
by Michael Inzlicht is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.