Navigation Links
I feel your pain: Neural mechanisms of empathy
Date:1/27/2009

Is it possible to share a pain that you observe in another but have never actually experienced yourself? A new study uses a sophisticated brain-imaging technique to try and answer this question. The research, published by Cell Press in the January 29th issue of the journal Neuron, provides insight into brain mechanisms involved in empathy.

Brain-imaging studies have shown similar patterns of brain activity when subjects feel their own emotions or observe the same emotions in others. It has been suggested that a person who has never experienced a specific feeling would have a difficult time directly empathizing with a person through a "mirror matching" mechanism that requires previous experience and would instead have to rely on a higher inferential processes called "perspective taking."

"Patients with congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP) offer a unique opportunity to test this model of empathy by exploring how the lack of self-pain representation might influence the perception of others' pain," explains lead author Dr. Nicolas Danziger from the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology and Pain Center at the Pitie-Salpetriere in Paris, France.

Dr. Danziger and colleagues had previously shown that CIP patients underestimated the pain of others when emotional cues were lacking and, in contrast with control subjects, the ability to fully acknowledge others' pain depended on a capacity for empathy. In this study, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare brain activation patterns in CIP patients and controls who were asked to imagine the feelings of a person in a photo that showed body parts in painful situations or facial expressions of pain.

CIP patients showed decreased fMRI activation of visual regions, a result indicative of their reduced emotional arousal to the view of others' pain. On the other hand, in the CIP patients but not the controls, the capacity for empathy strongly predicted activation of key midline brain structures involved in processes linked to inferring the emotional states of others.

These results suggest that in the absence of functional resonance mechanisms shaped by personal pain experiences, CIP patients might rely crucially on their empathetic abilities to imagine the pain of others, with activation of midline brain structures being the neural signature of this cognitive-emotional process.

"Our findings underline the major role of midline structures in emotional perspective taking and in the ability to understand someone else's feelings despite the lack of any previous personal experience of itan empathetic challenge frequently raised during human social interactions," concludes Dr. Danziger.


'/>"/>

Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Obesity starts in the head? 6 newly discovered genes for obesity have a neural effect
2. Neural mechanisms of value bias in the human visual cortex
3. NeuralIQ Expands Global Leadership Team, Names Donnie Blanks CEO
4. Neural cell transplants may help those with Parkinsons disease
5. MIT aids creation of neural prosthetic devices
6. Neural stem cell study reveals mechanism that may play role in cancer
7. Mechanisms of cardiovascular disease and cancer give clues to new therapies
8. Corn researchers discover novel gene shut-off mechanisms
9. Scientists reveal the key mechanisms for affinity between transient binding proteins
10. Jefferson receives $11.6M NIH grant to study novel mechanisms of heart failure
11. Mechanisms of plant-fungi symbiosis characterized by DOE Joint Genome Institute
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017 RAM ... announced a new breakthrough in biometric authentication based ... quantum mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These new ... semiconductor material created by Ram Group and its ... entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. Ram Group ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 ... its vendor landscape is marked by the presence of ... is however held by five major players - 3M ... these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the global ... leading companies in the global military biometrics market boast ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... , April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. ... company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on Form ... Exchange Commission. ... Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section of the ... on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/16/2017)... ... 16, 2017 , ... OHAUS Corporation, a leading worldwide manufacturer ... new line of Rocking and Waving Shakers today. , Five New Models Available ... digital) for laboratory applications in a variety of environmental conditions. Rocking shakers provide ...
(Date:7/14/2017)... ... July 14, 2017 , ... ... . Sonic Manufacturing Technologies has installed a solar system on its roof top. ... period,” the President of Sonic, Kenneth Raab stated. The company’s proud history of ...
(Date:7/14/2017)... USA/ Martinsried, Germany (PRWEB) , ... July 14, ... ... newly developed standardized solution for sample preparation of proteins to clean peptides for ... Diagenode Bioruptor® sonication system. , The PreOmics iST Kit is based on ...
(Date:7/13/2017)... , ... July 13, 2017 , ... ... surgical instruments in Orthopedics, has announced today the completion of a major transaction ... to drive organic and external growth. The alliance fuels In’Tech Medical’s service offerings ...
Breaking Biology Technology: