Will feeling other people’s inner condition become possible in the future? Could empathy be programmed in our minds?
(thank you, dragon brothers)
According to Keysers and Gazzola (2009),
Approximately 1% of humans report literally feeling on their own skin what they see happen to others — to the point where they become impaired in reporting where they have been touched on their own body when they simultaneously see other people being touched elsewhere. One of these mirror-touch synaesthetes has been scanned while viewing touch, and a hyperactivation of her BA2 and SII was measured compared to controls. Interestingly, mirror-touch synaesthetes also rank exceptionally high on empathy questionnaires, suggesting that the more you vicariously recruit BA2 and SII, the more vividly you experience the tactile sensations of others and the more you are inclined to empathize with others in general.
Christian Keysers, Valeria Gazzola, Expanding the mirror: vicarious activity for actions, emotions, and sensations, Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Volume 19, Issue 6, December 2009, Pages 666-671