Study: Stress diminishes ability to empathize - in both lab mice and humans

January 15, 2015 9:24 PM

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Study: Stress diminishes ability to empathize - in both lab mice and humans

TORONTO -- Most people are able to feel empathy for a friend experiencing physical or emotional pain. But it's trickier when the person is a stranger -- and researchers suggest a major reason for that lack of fellow-feeling may be stress.

Perhaps surprisingly, the ability to share another's emotions -- or not -- is equally demonstrated by both mice and people, said Jeffrey Mogil, a neuroscientist at McGill University, whose team studied the link between stress and empathy in experiments on the laboratory animals and human volunteers.

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