Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC): the frontal part of the cingulate cortex that resembles a "collar" surrounding the frontal part of the corpus callosum; plays a role in a wide variety of autonomic functions such as regulating blood pressure and heart rate; also involved in rational cognitive functions, such as reward anticipation, decision-making, empathy, impulse control, emotion
"...when you're in front of an audience and you make them laugh at a new idea, you're guiding the whole being for the moment. No one is ever more him/herself than when they really laugh. Their defenses are down. It's very Zen-like, that moment. They are completely open, completely themselves when that message hits the brain and the laugh begins. That's when new ideas can be implanted. If a new idea slips in at that moment, it has a chance to grow.” ― George Carlin, Last Words
Empathy is a high level emotion that helps us navigate the complex social environment we live in. New research suggests that the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex is the area in the brain that maybe uniquely required for this process.