The Scientific Basis of Compassion

Interest in contemplative practice has burgeoned in recent years as scientists in diverse fields point out the significant role that other-centered behaviors appear to play in health and wellbeing. Primatologist Frans de Waal, for example, posits that the common perception of human nature as a self-centered drive for individual survival is largely distorted, if not altogether wrong. Rather, he suggests, the roots of empathy, compassion, and morality run deep in human evolutionary history. 

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

Left Quote SymbolWhen we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.Left Quote Symbol

- Dr. Daniel Goleman

Further, work in social neuroscience has shown that the perception of social isolation is a risk factor for poor cognitive performance and can lead to an increase in depressive thoughts. Taken together, this research suggests that practices that enhance our sense of connectivity with others—such as CBCT®—may have a positive impact on our physical and mental health. Emerging data from a variety of on-going studies is supporting this supposition.  

For more on the need for cultivating compassion, watch this video by one of our CBCT® researchers, Dr. Charles Raison.