It’s particularly inspiring when a simple test can be used to investigate a complex condition and ultimately help us understand a phenomenon as essential as empathy. We only have to replace something familiar to learn just how good we are at trying to relate to each other.
Mirror-touch synesthesia could be seen as empathy in action. Those who experience the condition physically feel sensations when they see them happening to others.
Scientists are investigating how this extreme form of empathy works to try to understand the concept overall.
Part of the research involves participants watching a fake hand be touched in place of their own. The researchers want to see how our bodies and brains make sense of and assimilate this ‘impostor’ hand.