I’m pretty much anti-Acetaminophen. That’s not to say that I don’t “get it,” it is just to say that I don’t trust it in my body and think it is way over consumed.
A new study suggests that the popular headache medicine might also reduce your empathy for other people’s pain. Wait, did you just read that correctly? You did, in fact, read it spot on.
Researchers at The Ohio State University discovered that participants in a study who took acetaminophen and learned about the misfortunes of others communicated “less” empathy over their pain (emotional or physical). In other words, the amount of pain actually occurring and the amount of pain perceived by the Tylenol recipient were vastly different, with the Tylenol consumer perceiving less than actuality.
Do You get all that? We hope so.
Here is more from Neuro Scientist News.
“These findings suggest other people’s pain doesn’t seem as big of a deal to you when you’ve taken acetaminophen,” said Dominik Mischkowski, co-author of the study and a former PhD student at Ohio State, now at the National Institutes of Health.
“Acetaminophen can reduce empathy as well as serve as a painkiller.”
Mischkowski conducted the study with Baldwin Way, who is an assistant professor of psychology and member of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research; and Jennifer Crocker, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Social Psychology and professor of psychology at Ohio State. Their results were published online in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
A lack of empathy is certainly not going to win you any new friends anytime soon. 23% of all Americans frequently use Acetaminophen. Maybe this is why the grocery store is such a hideous experience for me? One may never know. But what I do know is that empathy is pretty darn important if you don’t want to be disliked by the herd.