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The painful side of empathy

Empathy refers to our ability to share emotions and sensations such as pain with others. Imaging studies on pain showed that the affective but not sensory component of our pain experience is involved in empathy for pain. In contrast, a new study using transcranial magnetic stimulation highlights for the first time the role of sensorimotor components in empathy for pain in other people.

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Figure 1: Experimental protocol for the study of Avenanti et al1.

Ann Thomson


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Singer, T., Frith, C. The painful side of empathy. Nat Neurosci 8, 845–846 (2005).

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