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Consciously Feeling the Pain of Others Reflects Atypical Functional Connectivity between the Pain Matrix and Frontal-Parietal Regions.

Grice-Jackson, Thomas; Critchley, Hugo D; Banissy, Michael J. and Ward, Jamie. 2017. Consciously Feeling the Pain of Others Reflects Atypical Functional Connectivity between the Pain Matrix and Frontal-Parietal Regions. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11, p. 507. ISSN 1662-5161 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Around a quarter of the population report "mirror pain" experiences in which bodily sensations of pain are elicited in response to viewing another person in pain. We have shown that this population of responders further fractionates into two distinct subsets (Sensory/localized and Affective/General), which presents an important opportunity to investigate the neural underpinnings of individual differences in empathic responses. Our study uses fMRI to determine how regions involved in the perception of pain interact with regions implicated in empathic regulation in these two groups, relative to controls. When observing pain in others (minor injuries to the hands and feet), the two responder groups show activation in both the sensory/discriminative and affective/motivational components of the pain matrix. The control group only showed activation in the latter. The two responder groups showed clear differences in functional connectivity. Notably, Sensory/Localized responders manifest significant coupling between the right temporo-parietal junction (rTPJ) and bilateral anterior insula. We conclude that conscious experiences of vicarious pain is supported by specific patterns of functional connectivity between pain-related and regulatory regions, and not merely increased activity within the pain matrix itself.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00507

Additional Information:

This research is funded by the Sackler Center for Consciousness Science.

Keywords:

social neuroscience, empathy, empathy for pain, vicarious pain, shared representations, rTPJ

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
6 October 2017Accepted
20 October 2017Published Online

Item ID:

23188

Date Deposited:

17 Apr 2018 13:10

Last Modified:

09 Jul 2018 13:01

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/23188

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