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When teenagers play a video game designed by researchers to teach empathy, the game affects areas of their brains related to empathy and emotional regulation, finds research in npc Science of Learning. In the game, players interact with human-like aliens and must gauge the intensity of emotions on the aliens’ faces. Researchers asked 34 middle school students to play the game daily for two weeks and took fMRI brain scans before and after the assigned period. They found that after the two weeks, the teenagers had stronger activation and connectivity across areas of the brain related to empathy and emotion regulation (such as the right temporoparietal junction and the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex). A control group of 40 students who played a commercially available game that did not target empathy showed no such strengthening. (Monitor on Psychology)

Susie Bean Gives