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Feelings Of Sympathy And Empathy Dictated by Personal Experience

It has now been demonstrated that our own experience is important to exhibit feelings of sympathy or empathy for others. Psychologists and neuroscientists have been working hard to understand what happens in our brain as soon as // we observe a person in action. The results of the observation show that the actions of the observer to a large extent are governed internally.

The research points out that we understand the actions of another person, apparently, on the basis of our own "action inventory". In other words, our own mind and body give us the foundation to understand what other people are doing, thinking, or feeling. Evidence for this comes out of an experiment involving two patients who apparently lost the ability to perceive their own body because of an extremely rare illness.

The two specific patients involved in the study have deficits in their ability to interpret the actions of other people, the psychological consequences of which are dramatic. In the dark, the patients lose complete control over their bodies, because they are no longer able to determine, for example, the position of their arms and legs relative to the body. Both patients report feelings of having lost their entire body, following which; they have trained themselves to carry out simple body movements.

The patients were confronted with short video films in which people were asked to lift boxes. Each box was a different weight. Both patients were given the task, in the first part, of guessing the weight of the box that the person in the film was lifting. The patients received no other clues; they had to guess the weight of the box solely from the motion sequence of the lifter. It turned out that the patients were able to complete the task as correctly and unerringly as the control subjects. Apparently they were able solve the problem using their knowledge that, for example, a slow body movement signifies a heavy load and a faster movement, which gives th
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