Empathize with others, to save themselves

People with borderline personality disorder are not prone to empathy because of the decreased activity of several brain areas. So empathy - a sign of mental health, the researchers say.

Empathize with others, to save themselves

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Psychologists have studied the behavior of people with borderline personality disorder, which manifests itself in the form of emotional instability, sudden and frequent mood swings, problems in personal relationships. Some previous studies have already shown that those suffering from this disorder is reduced activity of the brain associated with empathy (empathy emotions of others). However, there was evidence and that this activity they may have, on the contrary, increased.

A group of researchers led by psychologist Brian Haas (Brian Haas), associate professor of the College of Sciences and Arts. Franklin (USA), decided to find out what happens in the brains of people with borderline personality disorder when they solve a problem, make use of empathy.

More than 80 volunteers participated in the study. To begin with, they are tested by the so-called five-factor questionnaire for border personality traits, to determine how they are expressed personality traits characteristic of this disorder. Then, participants were given the task associated with the manifestation of empathy - they needed to compare the facial expressions on photos with different situations. During the assignment of the brain is scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). "We found that those who had the test results of the most salient manifestations of borderline disorders, the activity area of ​​the brain was reduced, responsible for the manifestation of empathy" - explains study co-author, psychologist Joshua Miller (Joshua Miller).

Reduced activity was recorded in two areas of the brain: the temporo-parietal and superior temporal node furrow. It is believed that both these areas play a critical role in the processes associated with empathy.

"Borderline disorder is considered one of the most severe personality disorders. Such people are very difficult to successfully build friendships and romantic relationships. Our findings shed light on the possible causes of these problems, "- said Joshua Miller.

For details, see. B. Haas, J. Miller "Borderline Personality Traits and Brain Activity During Emotional Perspective Taking", Personality Disorders, July 2015.