Study: Painkillers May Reduce Empathy


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Acetaminophen, the main ingredient in painkillers such as Tylenol, has been linked to less empathy for others, according to a new study by researchers from Ohio State, USA Today reports.

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During the study, researchers measured empathy of 194 college students and concluded that those students who had taken acetaminophen felt less empathy for others than students who took the placebo.

“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, a co-author of the study and researcher at the National Institutes of Health, in a statement.

Researchers warn that taking acetaminophen “could have implications for our interpersonal lives.”

“Empathy is important. If you are having an argument with your spouse and you just took acetaminophen, this research suggests you might be less understanding of what you did to hurt your spouse’s feelings,” said Baldwin Way, a study co-author.

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