How does an average person react when he or she sees someone else in pain? The vast majority of folks are capable of empathizing with somebody who has been sick or injured. Well, we can easily put ourselves in their shoes and also understand to certain degree what they are actually feeling. Additionally, we can share their emotional experience. It’s because observing their pain simply activates regions of the brain involved in processing the emotional aspects of pain.
However, seeing someone else in pain might cause pain in the observer. Folks with mirror-touch synesthesia are capable of experiencing touch sensations when they see other people being touched, and this might extend to pain in such individuals. By the way, there’re several anecdotal cases of patients, experiencing pain in the absence of noxious stimuli. Besides this, a fresh study by British psychologists provides evidence that a considerable minority of healthy folks can also face pain when seeing others’ injuries.
Jody Osborn along with Stuart Derbyshire of the University of Birmingham recruited up to 108 participants and demonstrated them static images as well as film clips illustrating painful events. Those participants were asked to report anything they felt when viewing the images, and to rate the level of unpleasantness, disgust, sadness and fear elicited by each, by means of a questionnaire. Apart from that they were asked to report the level of empathy felt for the person in every photograph.
Thirty one of the 108 participants, or approximately one third of the group, confirmed feeling pain in response to one or several images or clips. The sensations felt by them were most often described as tingling, which followed by aching. As for other descriptions, we should enumerate such sensations as shooting, sharp, throbbing, tender and stabbing.
Their pain was described as lasting for just a few seconds. For instance, the black and white photograph of the athlete with a broken leg drove the most pain responses as well as the highest pain intensity. In every case, the pain felt by them, appeared to be in the same location as that of the observed injury. For instance when they observed the image of the finger injury, they simply marked a cross on the finger of a diagram in the questionnaire.
Ten of these pain responders were chosen for a functional neuroimaging study along with other ten non-responders, acting as controls. The experiments provided that the behavioral data within the responder group, viewing the images as well as film clips was correlated with powerful activation of the so-called pain matrix, which is a diffuse network of brain areas, including the anterior cingulate cortex, somatosensory cortices, insula as well as prefrontal.
How does an average person react when he or she sees someone else in pain? The vast majority of folks are capable of empathizing with somebody who has been sick or injured. Well, we can easily put ourselves in their shoes and also understand to certain degree what they are actually feeling. Additionally, we can share their emotional experience.