Dr Edmund Keogh, a reader in Psychology, discusses whether pain in one individual can affect the pain experiences of another and if pain be socially transferred. He begins by examining a study, published in Science Advances, that found the presence of another mouse in pain, increased the bystanders pain sensitivity levels.
The study shows pain has a strong social environmental dimension, and that pain in one animal can effect pain sensitivity in those close by. It also suggests that the social transmission of pain sensitivity to other mice might occur through a wider range of senses than previously thought.
There are questions that research like this start to generate, which we can use to think more about human pain experiences. For example, how the senses might interact, and how information from one of our senses crosses over to influence another.