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How to build up compassion skills

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Can one learn how to become more compassionate? Could parents raise levels of empathy in their children? Or are these all fundamental traits? Psychologist Dacher Keltner, who directs the University of California, Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, says one can build up compassionate tendencies.

Keltner:         We know that 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. Immersion in nature is, some science shows, a way to build up empathy. So, it's really exciting. 

Narrator:       The Greater Good Science Center sponsors scientific research into emotional and social well-being and then helps people apply this research to their personal and professional lives. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.