Oh my goodness….how embarrassing!

Ever watched a TV show and been overwhelmed by a need to quickly change the channel because the humiliation experienced by the main character is so painful it hurts to watch? Have you noticed how other members of the family don’t seem to mind as much as they shout ‘TURN IT BACK’? This study by Krach et al (free to download) provides some … [Read more...]

Not just another empathy study

In this paper, Lamm and colleagues investigate what might modulate empathy.  While there have been loads of neuroimaging studies in empathy, many have failed to recognise that empathy is highly malleable by a number of factors.  With two fMRI experiments, this group studied two cognitive mechanisms of top-down control—attention and cognitive … [Read more...]

Someone else’s pain—Are you in or out?

One of the bits of the brain I find the toughest to understand is the insula.  We hear about it when the “pain matrix” is discussed.  The insula is part of what is currently understood as the medial pain system— involved in assigning meaning, emotion and affect to the pain experience[1].  Various neuroimaging studies have found activity in the … [Read more...]