Extreme empathy
A group of highly empathetic individuals with the condition mirror-touch synaesthesia is helping researchers understand how humans are able to put themselves in another's shoes.

Michael Banissy at University College London, UK, and colleagues investigated this extreme form of empathy - people with the condition have the sensation of being physically touched when they see someone else being touched.

A brain study of 10 volunteers with mirror-touch synaesthesia revealed they are also especially sensitive to other people's emotions. "They all scored higher in standard questionnaires to measure emotional empathy, which means they had better gut instincts for what others feel," says Banissy.