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Atypical emotion sharing in individuals with mirror sensory synaesthesia

Atypical emotion sharing in individuals with mirror sensory synaesthesia

Santiesteban, Idalmis ORCID: 0000-0003-1308-6213 , Hales, Clare, Bowling, Natalie ORCID: 0000-0001-5784-3664 , Ward, Jamie and Banissy, Michael J. (2024) Atypical emotion sharing in individuals with mirror sensory synaesthesia. Cognitive Neuropsychology. pp. 1-14. ISSN 0264-3294 (Print), 1464-0627 (Online) (doi:

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Being able to empathise with others is a crucial ability in everyday life. However, this does not usually entail feeling the pain of others in our own bodies. For individuals with mirror-sensory synaesthesia (MSS), however, this form of empathic embodiment is a common feature. The current study investigates the empathic ability of adults who experience MSS using a video-based empathy task. Three key measures are derived from this task: emotion identification (ability to identify another’s affective state), affective empathy (degree to which another’s affective state causes a matching state in the Empathiser) and affect sharing (degree to which the Empathiser’s state matches the state they attribute to another). We found that MSS participants did not differ from controls on emotion identification and affective empathy. However, the MSS group showed higher affect sharing than controls. This finding indicates difficulties with self-other distinction, which our data shows results in fewer signs of prosocial behaviour. We interpret our findings in line with the self-other control theory of MSS and highlight how the use of appropriate empathy measures can contribute to our understanding of this important socio-affective ability, both in typical and atypical populations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: mirror-sensory synaesthesia; MSS; mirror touch synaesthesia; mirror pain synaesthesia; empathy; CARER task; self-other control
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2024 13:48

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