Autism Awareness Research Science

People With Higher Empathy Process Music Differently In The Brain

Its a rare occasion in XXYland where parents are not talking about the heightened levels of empathy their XXY children process, the same is also true of XXY adults who rate traits of this nature as being major benefits of what it means to be XXY. This being so one can only surmise if the test subjects used in this research (20 UCLA Undergraduates) were replaced with 20 XXY’s the outcome might have been a whole lot different. Different given our struggles in areas of the brain stimulus which would not have been issues for undergraduates, such as the Frontal Lobe and Straitum, areas responsible for social functioning, as in critical analysing plus understanding others’ behaviours and intentions as well as coordinating multiple aspects of cognition, including motor, action planning, decision making, motivation, reinforcement, and reward perception. I think most would agree these are areas that XXY’s generally struggle with? Of the few correlations I could relate to was a preference for sad music which I think speaks volumes in terms of our inability to connect with peer groups, where understanding another’s pain might well be a positive but, experience says it’s seldom returned in kind.

Individuals who deeply grasp the pain or happiness of others also differ from others in the way their brains process music, a new study by researchers at Southern Methodist University, Dallas and UCLA suggests.

The researchers found that compared to low empathy people, those with higher empathy process familiar music with greater involvement of the reward system of the brain, as well as in areas responsible for processing social information.

The study involved 20 UCLA undergraduate students. They were each scanned in an MRI machine while listening to excerpts of music that were either familiar or unfamiliar to them, and that they either liked or disliked. The familiar music was selected by participants prior to the scan.

Afterwards each person completed a standard questionnaire to assess individual differences in empathy — for example, frequently feeling sympathy for others in distress, or imagining oneself in another’s shoes.

The researchers then did controlled comparisons to see which areas of the brain during music listening are correlated with empathy.

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