It turns out there’s a part of our brain – the right supramarginal gyrus (rSMG for short), located near the middle of the brain – that showed a spike of activity when test subjects were off kilter with each other. They just had to work out whether that spike was trying to encourage us to be more empathetic, or acting as a road-block. It turned out to be the former.
For some reason, test subjects seem quite happy to have magnetic stimulus performed on their brains. Thanks to their confidence in modern science, the researchers were able to reduce the rSMG activity and find that their subjects showed less empathy when doing the tests. Our brains are actually trying to help us be more empathetic. Hopefully this research goes towards finding ways to improve our empathy levels. The last thing we need is a mad scientist who devises a way to shut the rSMG reaction down. Without it, we’re not human.