The ability to forgive discerned in the structure of the brain

The ability to forgive discerned in the structure of the brain

Chinese scientists have discovered the relationship between forgiveness and individual structural differences in the brain. As reported in an article published in the journal Scientific Reports, the willingness to forgive is associated with differences in the volume of white and gray matter in brain regions responsible for cognitive control and empathy.

Neuroimaging studies have linked the ability of people to forgive with increased activity of the prefrontal cortex, which is involved, inter alia, in the decision-making process. However, all previous studies were focused only on finding functional differences in brain activity in forgiving and willing to forgive people. In his new work, Chinese scientists under the leadership of Jiang Qiu (Qiu Jiang) from southwest University in Chongqing have considered other possible differences — structural.

The researchers asked participants to fill out a survey on willingness to forgive: this survey consists of statements of the form “I very quickly calm down if someone hurt my feelings” and responses are given on a five-point Likert scale, one being “completely disagree” and five “strongly agree”. Image of the brain was obtained using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In total, the study involved 191 persons without neurological diseases.