Role of major long fiber tracts association in empathy
Introduction. The empathic capacity is a field of research that has been studied from various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, or ethology and recently the field of neuroscience has been added. Thus, there has been an increase in studies using structural and functional neuroimaging, which has allowed to establish the brain structures that underlie its functioning. On the other hand, the appearance of measurement instruments such as diffusion tensor, have allowed us to begin to understand the role of white matter and neural connectivity in empathy.
Aim. To review the results obtained from the relation of the long fiber tracts of association with the functions associated with the empathic capacity. Emphasis is placed on the division of empathy into its cognitive and affective components.
Development. The scientific literature has been revised using the Google Scholar, Science Research, Chemedia, PubMed, Dialnet and Teseo search engines.
Conclusions. Both the functions associated with empathic capacity and empathy itself appear to be related to white matter fascicles. Likewise, in disorders characterized by a deficit in empathy, a relationship is suggested between the white matter tracts and alterations in important functions so that the empathic capacity dies. In this sense, the white matter tracts most related to empathy are the fronto-occipital fasciculus, the inferior longitudinal fasciculus, the superior longitudinal fasciculus and the uncinate fasciculus. Considering these results, it could be argued that neuronal connectivity, independently of structural and functional aspects, could play an important role in empathic function.
Key words. Autism. Connectivity. Empathy. Long association fiber tracts. Psychopathy. Social cognition. White matter.