Our brains are capable of experiencing physical empathy in a variety of ways. We rely on the intuitive, sensory-motor parts of the brain to relate to someone who is experiencing something that we have also experienced. However, through the rational part of the brain, we are also able to feel empathy for someone feeling something we have not or are incapable of experiencing.
According to a new study from University of Southern California, even missing a limb will not stop your brain from understanding what it is like for someone else to experience pain in that limb.
Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, assistant professor at USC’s Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, explains how the brain produces empathy, even for those who differ physically from themselves in a paper published online by Cerebral Cortex.
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