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Altruism in the Lab

Matthieu Ricard | 3:50


 The study of art tourism in with neuroscience. You know, there was, there's quite a few labs, but the one I was personally involved, one is the lab of Richard Davidson in Medicine, Wisconsin, with an Luz or so. And, uh, it was shown for instance, that when. Meditators engage in the, what they call unconditional compassion.

I mean, you just feeling of compassion for anyone that could be in the field of your attention that induc. Uh, in the brain activities, there are different frequencies in the gamma frequencies, which are fast frequencies, which are related with connectivity between many areas of. There's a huge increase of those camera frequency, uh, to an extent as, uh, in Richard Davis's words was never described earlier in neuroscience magnitude of a voluntary induced change in the brain.

So that was a kind of surprise, and it was even thought it might be an artifact, but it has been checked again and again, and they have been shown now that even in those meditators it can go. In the deep sleep, which is, was under unhear of that, you have Gama frequency in the deep sleep. So it's really something that changed deeply.

And so that's, you know, was a major sort of, uh, break breakthrough. And then the other aspect also working with, uh, so the, this of course lot of things with brain imagery showing how meditators react differently to emotional stim stimuli. A laughing baby or a woman with sh shrinking in panic. So how the training makes that you react differently from other meditators, that compassion meditation can also induce a different relation to physical pain because you're more ed by others.

Let's ban yourself all kinds of. Another, uh, branch of study was done with Tanya Singer. She now has the Lab, max Lung Institute for Neuroscience, effective Neuroscience. And it was allowed us, I mean, her and I participated in that to distinguish subtle, I mean not subtle, but important differences between different nuance nuances of altru and especially the difference between altru compassion and empathy.

And because, for instance, when you resonate with. And then you suppose you're a health worker and then you suffer because of what they suffer all day long. Then you burn out very soon. If it says, all you have is empathy, resonating, resonating, resonating, you burn out. It's too much. The person either accused or die, but it doesn't suffer for 20 years.

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