A research published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE revealed that just by watching a picture of another person shiver, may cause our own body temperature to drop, in a newly discovered phenomenon called “temperature contagion.”
This interesting study was conducted by University of Sussex neuroscientists who created two groups of volunteers. One group was watching videos of actors plunging their hands into buckets of ice-cold water and the other group of actors plunging them into warm water. Interestingly, people in the first group experienced a simultaneous temperature drop on their own hands.
According to neuroscientist Neil Harrison who was interviewed by The Telegraph, the results can be explained by feelings of empathy – watching other people experiencing extreme condition is reflected on our own body: (the article continues after the ad)
“We believe that this mimicry of people’s bodily response helps us understand how they are feeling. Mimicking another person is believed to help us create an internal model of their physiological state which we can use to better understand their motivations and how they are feeling.
Humans are profoundly social creatures and much of humans’ success results from our ability to work together in complex communities – this would be hard to do if we were not able to rapidly empathise with each other and predict one another’s thoughts, feelings and motivations.”
According to Dr. Harrison, it’s the brain’s ‘mirror neurones’ we should “blame” for this weird phenomenon:
“Mirror neurons found in very specific parts of the brain are known to fire when we perform an action or observe a similar action in others – it has been proposed that more general mirror properties may also exist across many other brain areas.”
So, what happened with the second group, the one that watched the videos of people plunging their water into warm water?
Well, as expected, there was no significant change in their temperature. Interesting indeed!
If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: New Research Reveals The Real Reason Why Vincent Van Gogh Chopped Off His Own Ear
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Sources: You Turn Me Cold: Evidence for Temperature Contagion | If this picture makes you feel cold you may be a victim of ‘temperature contagion’