Why does it feel so good to care for others and for myself?

Melissa Birkett, Joni Sasaki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This chapter explores research investigating the role of hormones in empathy, compassion, and self-compassion. The results of translational research ranging from rodent studies to human clinical trials suggest that the neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin are highly conserved across species and critical in the expression of many forms of prosocial behavior, particularly empathy and compassion. Recent research has begun to investigate the potential role of these neuroendocrine systems in self-compassion as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Neuroscience of Empathy, Compassion, and Self-Compassion
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780128098370
ISBN (Print)9780128098387
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Gene-environment interactions
  • Oxytocin
  • Self-compassion
  • Vasopressin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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