By Mary Helen Immordino-Yang
Emotion Review July 2011 vol. 3 no. 3 313-315
Social emotions about others’ mind states, for example, compassion for psychological pain or admiration for virtue, are an important foundation for morality because they help us decide how to treat other people. Although these emotions are ostensibly concerned with the mental qualities and situations of others, they can precipitate intimately subjective reflections on the quality of one’s own social life and mind, and via these reflections incite a desire to engage in meaningful moral actions. Our interview and neural data suggest that the shift from social emotion to introspection may be facilitated by conscious mental evaluation of emotion-related visceral sensations.
The entire paper is here.