Why a problem shared is a problem DOUBLED: Empathy is so strong in humans that we confuse our friends’ worries with our own

University of Virginia research, which used MRI scans of 22 people’s brains, found a person’s self comes to include people that they feel close to.

 

* U.S. scientists have discovered a person’s self comes to include people that they feel close to

 

* The University of Virginia study found humans are incapable of empathising as strongly with strangers as they can with friends and family

 

* Scientists used MRI scans to examine 22 people under threat from electric shocks to themselves, a friend and a stranger

 

A new study has added to a growing body of scientific evidence that the human brain is not only hardwired to empathise with others, but does this so strongly that individuals cannot differentiate between what happens to a close friend or family member and themselves.

Scientists found humans are hardwired to empathise as we associate with people emotionally close to us, but are largely incapable of empathising so strongly with strangers.

By SARAH GRIFFITHS