-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Seeing someone else being
caressed causes your brain to react as strongly as if you were
being caressed, researchers have found.
In the study, MRI scans were used to measure the brain activity
of volunteers while they were stroked either slowly or quickly with
a soft brush. Not surprisingly, the strongest brain reaction
occurred when the participants were being stroked slowly, said the
research team at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
However, the investigators were surprised at the results when
the participants watched videos of another person being
"The aim was to understand how the brain processes information from sensual contact, and it turned out that the brain was activated just as quickly when the volunteers got to watch someone else being caressed as when they were being caressed themselves," researcher India Morrison said in a university news release. "Even when we are only watching sensual skin contact, we can experience its emotional meaning without actually feeling the touch directly."
When the participants watched a video that featured a hand
caressing an inanimate object, the brain activation was not nearly
as strong as when they saw another person being caressed, the
researchers pointed out.
The findings "indicate that our brain is wired in such a way
that we can feel and process other people's sensations, which could
open up new ways of studying how we create empathy," Morrison
The study was published in the
Journal of Neuroscience.
National Center for Complementary and A...rnative Medicine has
more on the benefits of massage.
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