“Emotional empathy refers to feeling another person’s emotion,” Richard-Mornas said. “While cognitive empathy is the ability to adopt the other person’s point of view, or ‘put oneself in his/her shoes,’ without necessarily experiencing any emotion.”
Brain Surgery To Remove Amygdala Leads To Woman’s ‘Hyper Empathy’
By Bahar Gholipour, Staff Writer
In a strange case, a woman developed “hyper empathy” after having a part of her brain called the amygdala removed in an effort to treat her severe epilepsy, according to a report of her case. Empathy is the ability to recognize another person’s emotions.
The case was especially unusual because the amygdala is involved in recognizing emotions, and removing it would be expected to make it harder rather than easier for a person to read others’ emotions, according to the researchers involved in her case.
During the woman’s surgery, doctors removed parts of her temporal lobe, including the amygdala, from one side of the brain. The surgery is a common treatment for people with severe forms of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) who don’t respond to medication.
After the surgery, the seizures she had suffered multiple times a day stopped. But the woman reported a “new, spectacular emotional arousal,” that has persisted for 13 years to this date, the researchers said.