A new study done by the University of Virginia has stated that the human brain is wired to make connection with people, to the point that when someone we love is in pain, we will feel that same pain.
Most of us are familiar with empathy, the ability to feel what other’s feel, but this study shows that the human brain can’t differentiate between what happens to friends/family and ourselves.
How does one test this? Test subjects were put in a fMRI machine and were threatened to be electrocuted. The spikes in brain activity were monitored and recorded and then the researchers threatened to electrocute a stranger and a friend.
The research showed that when a stranger was threatened, almost no response was recorded. However, when a friend was threatened, the brain scans showed identical results to when the test subjects were threatened. This shows that humans don’t just empathize with loved ones, they literally feel their pain.
Basically, the tests show that humans can ‘sync up’ with other humans that they care for and trust. Studies show that humans can carry 150 stable relationships with fellow humans, and trying to add more to that can lead to one losing a sense of self.
Individuals start to identify with others more than figuring out who they are, and when they lose someone, it hurts more than a well-balanced individual.
Do you find yourself being empathetic to people you don’t know very well?