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http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...ogically-speak

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The study - in basic terms - investigates this hypothesis by placing subjects into a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) machine and looking at the "activation" of different brain areas as subjects view a randomized series of pictures. The pictures used for this study included neutral scenes and an even share of scenes depicting various kinds of animal and human suffering.
The first main finding of this study is that, compared to Omnivores, Vegans and Vegetarians show higher activation of empathy related brain areas (e.g. Anterior Cingular Cortex and left Inferior Frontal Gyrus) when observing scenes of suffering; whether it be animal or human suffering.
Further, pictures of animal suffering (in contrast to pictures human suffering) recruited specific brain regions in Vegans and Vegetarians that were not differentially recruited by Omnivores. These were areas which are thought to be associated with higher-order representations of the self and self values (e.g. medial Prefrontal Cortex).
don't worry, i won't let them eat you

In addition to generally higher activations in the above mentioned areas, a second main finding of this study is that there are certain brain areas which only Vegetarians and Vegans seem to activate when processing pictures of suffering. In particular, when viewing pictures of human suffering, Vegetarians in this study recruited additional brain areas thought to be associated with bodily representations that distinguish self from others. (Notably these areas were particularly active when mutilations were shown).
Neat!
 

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I am a Vegetarian for ethical and health reasons, I hardly use my Faith or religion for my decision for the lifestyle and plus, i use it for budget and environmental issues.
I always been Empathetic and I always had compassion and love people and want to help, I always had a heart.
 

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LOVE the pic!!!
 

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Herbivorous Urchin
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Scared on facebook, awesome article.
 

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Herbivorous Urchin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disney.jessica View Post

I get scared on Facebook sometimes, too


I shared it, as well!

Also, I wonder how that would 'show' for willfully ignorant omni's compared to the omnis that know exactly what goes on, and chooses to keep eating meat anyway.
 

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Originally Posted by disney.jessica View Post

I get scared on Facebook sometimes, too


I wonder if what's the cause and effect of this, if it's true. Do we develop the empathy after deciding it's wrong to eat animals, or do we decide because we have more empathy? I used to be an enthusiastic meat-eater, but now I find the idea horrifying. Maybe as meat eaters we steel ourselves against the pain of believing we are doing something wrong so effectively that we feel less empathy...
 

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Huh. I wonder what my brain would look like, as someone who was raised vegetarian vs. someone who went veg*n later in life.

Of course, I've always been really sensitive to suffering, but I was also raised by vegetarian parents who were also sensitive to suffering (especially my mother). I guess it would go back to the nature vs. nurture bit.
 

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There's anthropological evidence that empathy for other animals is actually one of the motivating factors that hastened human brain evolution.
 

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I am not sure if empathy is the correct word, I think "sympathy" is what they are looking for. Empathy is a term which means being able to pick up verbal and non verbal signals and relate to another's thoughts and feelings. Sympathy is the sensitivity to the suffering of others.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by disney.jessica View Post

I get scared on Facebook sometimes, too
Haha, and i love that you also didn't even put anything indicating that as a joke, so you seem completely serious.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freesia View Post

I am not sure if empathy is the correct word, I think "sympathy" is what they are looking for. Empathy is a term which means being able to pick up verbal and non verbal signals and relate to another's thoughts and feelings. Sympathy is the sensitivity to the suffering of others.
I think it would be both, sympathy for "aww that's sad", and empathy for thinking of what they are going through and knowing that it would hurt if done to you, so you relate to them.
 

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Riot Nrrrd
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When I worked customer service they hammered the difference between sympathy and empathy into us. Sympathy implies pity, empathy understanding. Empathy was the desired trait to show.
 

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On the one hand, it is nice to be told that we are 'special', on the other hand it maybe is an indicator that we can talk to omni's until we are blue in the face but they will never be moved.....because they don't have any latent 'special genes'.

On second thought though, I suppose we won't know if they have the 'special' gene until we talk to them, so I guess we should just continue to do what we do when the opportunity presents itself. At the very least, I guess this releases us from any sense of responsibility when they don't change.

And as someone mentioned here that they were raised by veg parents and are now vegetarian themself, maybe it actually is a specific gene and that tells me that we oughta be breeding like rabbits and overpower the omni world by our sheer numbers. Just think, if we're in the majority, we can make the changes we would like to see, ban forced incarceration and torture of animals, put offenders in gestation crates (leave them there for......as long as we want), battery cages for battering omni's......oh goodness, my imagination runs away with me!
 

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The study doesn't really take a position on which comes first, the functional patterns or the behavior. It's equally possible that the patterns seen develop because ethical vegetarians 'train' their brains to empathy. My gut feeling is 'brain training' is actually the more likely explanation. It would explain familiar observed changes in behavior.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieselsmom View Post

On the one hand, it is nice to be told that we are 'special', on the other hand it maybe is an indicator that we can talk to omni's until we are blue in the face but they will never be moved.....because they don't have any latent 'special genes'.

On second thought though, I suppose we won't know if they have the 'special' gene until we talk to them, so I guess we should just continue to do what we do when the opportunity presents itself. At the very least, I guess this releases us from any sense of responsibility when they don't change.

And as someone mentioned here that they were raised by veg parents and are now vegetarian themself, maybe it actually is a specific gene and that tells me that we oughta be breeding like rabbits and overpower the omni world by our sheer numbers. Just think, if we're in the majority, we can make the changes we would like to see, ban forced incarceration and torture of animals, put offenders in gestation crates (leave them there for......as long as we want), battery cages for battering omni's......oh goodness, my imagination runs away with me!
I don't know if it's so much that vegetarianism is 'in my genes', so much as I was raised by compassionate people, and learned that compassion from an early age.

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Originally Posted by Dave in MPLS View Post

The study doesn't really take a position on which comes first, the functional patterns or the behavior. It's equally possible that the patterns seen develop because ethical vegetarians 'train' their brains to empathy. My gut feeling is 'brain training' is actually the more likely explanation. It would explain familiar observed changes in behavior.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibbleforlola View Post

I don't know if it's so much that vegetarianism is 'in my genes', so much as I was raised by compassionate people, and learned that compassion from an early age.

But if you read the article, I think it indicates that there is actually physiological differences in the way the brains of veg's work as compared to omnivores brains. And it seems to me that if there are measurable differences at the cellular level than that might signify that we were born with a propensity towards 1. 'extreme empathy' 2. becoming vegetarian/vegan. That would support the gene theory. Similar to the idea that one can be born with a propensity towards alcoholism if one comes from a family of alcoholics. Doesn't mean you will 'become' one (anything), but if the situation presents itself or one is made aware of the issues (in the case of veg'nism).

Also, many of us were never raised in a veg friendly home so to suggest that 'brain training' can explain these results seems to me to be lacking in real support. For example, I was raised by a mother who grew up on a farm (butchered their own meat and all that) and I have uncles who have always had pigs, dairy cows and beef cows. My mother worked on a mink farm and at a turkey raising and processing farm and while I was a little girl, we had a pig named Patty, a heifer named Sparkle, various rabbits, and chickens and so on, and there came a point where they all 'just disappeared'. From pet to plate as it were. There was never even a thought that one didn't eat them. I can honestly say that I was always felt more of a kinship with the critters around me and a real empathy for them even as a child despite the environment that I grew up in. So how did my brain get trained?
 
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