Empathy is essential for being human for understanding and sharing other people’s affective and mood, including pain. Pain empathy is a mental ability that allows one person to understand another person’s pain and how to respond to that person effectively. The same neural structures as pain and empathy have recently been found to be involved in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. When someone witnesses other’s pain, besides the visual cortex, various parts of the nervous system activate, including the neural network of empathy. Empathy includes not only pain but also other emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, distress. These findings raised beg the question of whether empathy for pain is unique in its neural correlates. It is essential to know for revealing empathy is a specific context or in a state of chronic pain, depression or anxiety disorders. Because of this, pain empathy has been the central focus of empathy research in social neuroscience and other related fields, highlighting the importance of empathy for pain in daily life. Considering how pain plays a crucial role in the quality of life, determining its network and neurocognitive correlations in the empathy processing may provide a novel therapeutic approach for pain management. This area, which is still under investigation, can provide new information about pain. Under the recent studies and hypothesis, we have aimed to clarify the term of pain empathy, its components, and its neural correlates.
Part of the book: Pain Management