Recent research has shown that experiencing events that represent a significant threat to social bonds activates a network of brain areas associated with the sensory-discriminative aspects of pain. In the present study, we investigated whether the same brain areas are involved when witnessing social exclusion threats experienced by others. Using a within-subject design, we show that an ecologically valid experience of social exclusion recruits areas coding the somatosensory components of physical pain (posterior insular cortex and secondary somatosensory cortex). Furthermore, we show that this pattern of activation not only holds for directly experienced social pain, but also during empathy for social pain. Finally, we report that subgenual cingulate cortex is the only brain area conjointly active during empathy for physical and social pain. This supports recent theories that affective processing and homeostatic regulation are at the core of empathic responses.

Empathy for social exclusion involves the sensory-discriminative component of pain: a within-subject fMRI study.

Zanon M;
2015

Abstract

Recent research has shown that experiencing events that represent a significant threat to social bonds activates a network of brain areas associated with the sensory-discriminative aspects of pain. In the present study, we investigated whether the same brain areas are involved when witnessing social exclusion threats experienced by others. Using a within-subject design, we show that an ecologically valid experience of social exclusion recruits areas coding the somatosensory components of physical pain (posterior insular cortex and secondary somatosensory cortex). Furthermore, we show that this pattern of activation not only holds for directly experienced social pain, but also during empathy for social pain. Finally, we report that subgenual cingulate cortex is the only brain area conjointly active during empathy for physical and social pain. This supports recent theories that affective processing and homeostatic regulation are at the core of empathic responses.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/386362
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