This Dialogue focuses on the study of altruism and compassion in Western science. It addresses these topics from a highly multidisciplinary perspective since altruism and compassion are clearly significant for both the social and life sciences. A historical perspective on the role of compassion in science, and the bias in the study of negative rather than positive psychological states in the behavioral sciences, are first considered. The role of altruism in evolutionary biology is examined, and its relevance to understanding human motivation is discussed. The characteristics that determine whether people help other people in need will be another focus.
LOCATION: Dharamsala, India
Richard J. Davidson, PhD
William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founder and Chief Visionary for Healthy Minds Innovations, Inc.