Narrator: This is Science Today. About half of our emotional profile is genetically passed down from our parents...but what about the other half? Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley says emotions such as compassion and empathy can also be taught. Keltner directs UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, an interdisciplinary research center devoted to translating the hard science behind emotions such as happiness and compassion and disseminating their findings to the general public through outreach.
Keltner: The Greater Good Science Center
and our lab are very interested in building up compassionate tendencies and we
know, for example, studying pictures of the human face for an hour builds up
your empathy reading skills or emotion reading skills. That's amazing. Meditation
changes brain chemistry toward more compassionate settings. Parents who do the
hard work of talking to kids about hurting other feelings and telling stories
at bedtime about empathy and compassion raise more compassionate kids. Emersion
in nature is, some science shows, a way to build up empathy.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.