Physical pain from watching people get hurt



Why do I get a physical feeling of what I can only describe as almost vertigo. I get a physical reaction when watching a video of someone getting hurt. Like when you watch a video of someone crashing their bike or falling off of a roof.

In: Biology

The images processes by your eyes causes parts of your brain to run the same software being run by the person’s brain who is suffering. Some brains can run this code with astonishing fidelity, blessing/cursing the owners of this type of brain with what we call “empathy”.

Not sure, but I feel this too! Whenever I see a broken limb/surgery/blood on someone else, my stomach seems to clench and give me butterflies? Would be curious on the science of this too!

It’s called emotional empathy. We tend to reflect other people’s emotions onto ourselves. It’s a trait that has evolved with humanity, but also some animals display it. People that don’t possess it have an antisocial personality disorder (aka a sociopath).

Mirror Neurons are mostly responsible for this. In order to make sense of our environment, our brains will simulate other’s experiences in our own mind to understand what they are enduring. Some people have more visceral responses associated with this simulating, and tend to empathize more with others as result. Some primates have been shown to have these mirror neuron systems as well which foster nonverbal communication.

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