mirror-touch synaesthesia

I recently read an intriguing article about a type of synaesthesia I had never heard of before.

The article comes from Live Science and here is an extract:

‘A brain anomaly can make the saying “I know how you feel” literally true in hyper-empathetic people who actually sense that they are being touched when they witness others being touched.

The condition, known as mirror-touch synesthesia, is related to the activity of mirror neurons, cells recently discovered to fire not only when some animals perform some behavior, such as climbing a tree, but also when they watch another animal do the behavior. For “synesthetes,” it’s as if their mirror neurons are on overdrive.

“We often flinch when we see someone knock their arm, and this may be a weaker version of what these synesthetes experience,” University College London cognitive neuroscientist Jamie Ward said.

Now scientists find these synesthetes possess an unusually strong ability to empathize with others. Further research into this condition might shed light on the roots of empathy, which could help better understand autism, schizophrenia, psychopathy and other disorders linked with empathy.’

…read the rest of the article here.

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