Yang Hu1,2, Mingxia Fan3, Wenjing Li2, Peijia Huang2, Zhaoxin Wang1,3
1Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China, People's Republic of; 2Department of Psychology, School of Psychology & Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China, People's Republic of; 3Shanghai Key Laboratory of MRI, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China, People's Republic of
The current study aimed to investigate whether simple group categorization can modulate the neural correlates of empathy for others pain using a modified minimal paradigm. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups and were instructed to memorize novel faces of in-/out-group members. They were then sent to the MRI scanner to rate the pain intensity felt by their in-/out-group members. We found that increased activation in right anterior insula was detected while participants see their in-group members receiving painful stimulation in relevant to out-group members, indicating that empathic concern for others pain could be modulated by simple group categorization.