Empathy : How Perception Of Empathy

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Empathy: How Perception Relates to Compassion
Rebecca Wildman
Mind and Brain
Prof. Tong
Word Count: 1624
Have you ever watched a video clip of a person getting injured, and then winced and felt pain in a similar area of your body? Sometimes, when someone else hits their knee or elbow on something, do you find yourself saying “ouch” or clutching yourself? Empathy is what allows you to feel the pain of someone else though you are not physically experiencing it. Some studies have shown that the empathic activity in response to pain is not associated with the exact sensory and motor qualities of it but instead with its unpleasantness, as the sensory and motor pathways are not replicating the exact pain that another person experiences (Singer …show more content…

O’Doherty, Klaas E. Stephan, Raymond J. Dolan, and Chris D. Frith investigated how our perception of others impacts just how empathetic we are towards them and their pain (2006). To accomplish this, the researchers used the economic game model. The study’s participants played a sequential Prisoner’s Dilemma game with one of two confederates, which are actors who participate in psychological studies but are employed by the researcher and have assigned roles. One of these confederates played fairly and always followed a certain pattern, in this case tripling the points that the participant sent. The other confederate did not play fairly. In the game, the subject would make the first move, so they would have to decide whether to trust the confederate with his or her point money. The confederate would then either return high or low amounts of money to the subject depending on whether the actor was to play fairly or unfairly. As a result, the subjects began to favor the fair players, viewing them as not only fairer, but also more likable and even more attractive than the unfair players, who they were conditioned to dislike.
After the games were completed, the subjects were placed into a functional magnetic resonance imaging device, or fMRI, which scans brain activity by measuring the blood flow in different regions of the brain. The two confederates were placed on either side of the subject so that he or she could see their

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