Is it really possible for a person to feel the pain or emotions of somebody else? In an article published by LiveScience, a new condition has been identified as mirror-touch synesthesia. In lecture, we learned that synesthesia is where multiple sensations are blended together rather than being experienced separately. Mirror-touch synesthesia is where mirror neurons in the brain are hyperactive and cause people with the condition to feel sensations when others around them do. These sensations vary from feeling touch when somebody else is touched to feeling the pain of somebody suffering in a horror film and are believed to be linked to levels of empathy each person has. Synesthetes are diagnosed by filling out a questionnaire that looks at measures of empathy a person has and whether or not their scores are higher than others believed to be without the condition. With the lack of large amounts of strong evidence, however, some scientists believe that an actual condition may not actually exist, and people are just overreacting to a brain function everybody possesses. It may be somewhat of a placebo effect, where a person believes they are experiencing the same sensations when truly they aren't feeling anything at all. It seems in this case that the claims made about mirror-touch synesthesia are stronger than the actual evidence provided by science, going against the principle of extraordinary claims. A lot more needs to be done than conducting surveys and questionnaires about how empathetic people are towards others around them.
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