I Feel Ya’
I haven't heard the phase, "I feel ya" in a few years now. I don't know if people have stopped using the expression because it is no longer fashionable to say or perhaps people have stopped saying it because humans are becoming more antisocial. For whatever reason the phase has become unpopular, according neurobiologists, it is not because people are becoming more emotionally distant.
In fact recent research reveals that people are feeling each other even more. Not from an emotional standpoint, but from one person's neuron to another's. In other words, neurologically speaking, we feel each other on a deeper physiologically level. And because of this neuron to neuron communiqué, it seems that one of the most defining features of humanity is our capacity for empathy or the ability to put ourselves in another person's shoe.
In fact, a recent research study by University of Virginia research psychologists reveals that human brains are hardwired for empathy and friendship. The researchers at the university used functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans to find that people closely correlate people to whom they are attached to themselves. The study appears in a recent issue of the Journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. Research from the university suggests that we are hardwired to empathize because we closely associate people who are close to us, such as coworkers, friends and significant others. The researchers found, as they expected, that regions of the brain responsible for threat response - the anterior insula, putamen and supramarginal gyrus - became active under threat of shock to the self.
The University of Virginia study suggests that it is likely that when people have friends and allies they see as being the similar as themselves they become more similar neurologically. These same people can understand the pain or difficulty they may be going through in the same way we understand our own pain. This source of empathy may be part of the evolutionary process. I am looking forward to reading new breakthroughs in the collaborative approach of psychology and neurobiology as they relate to human bonding.