New publication from the lab


Increasing self-other bodily overlap increases sensorimotor resonance to others’ pain

Empathy for another person’s pain and feeling pain oneself seem to be accompanied by similar or shared neural responses. Such shared responses could be achieved by mapping the bodily states of others onto our own bodily representations. We investigated whether sensorimotor neural responses to the pain of others are increased when experimentally reducing perceived bodily distinction between the self and the other. The empathy-related neural activations were stronger in participants who reported stronger bodily self-attribution of the other person’s hand. Our findings provide further evidence that empathy for pain engages sensorimotor resonance mechanisms. They also indicate that reducing bodily self-other distinction may increase such resonance for ingroup as well as outgroup targets.

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