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What is empathy?

Listener Maria gets a headache when her husband gets migraines. She wants to know if she's experiencing an extreme form of empathy and what’s happening in her brain to cause this.

What is empathy? This week’s question comes from Maria in Amsterdam who has noticed that when one of her friends is in pain, she feels their pain too, literally. Maria wants to know - is she experiencing a type of ‘super’ empathy?

To help find the answer, Marnie Chesterton visits the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and gets into an MRI scanner to discover what is happening in her brain when she empathises.

She talks with a pro-social psychopath to find out how psychopaths experience empathy differently and how they navigate social situations.

And Marnie meets with a mediator specialising in The Israeli–Palestinian conflict, to learn the value of empathy when the stakes are at their highest.

(Photo: Back view of loving Mum hug teen daughter. Credit: Getty Images)

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38 minutes

Last on

Mon 6 Jan 2020 18:32GMT



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