Less Pain, But Who Cares?
People who take acetaminophen often find it helps them feel less achy. But they may also feel less empathetic.
A study published in the online journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience involved participants given acetaminophen, a painkiller found in more than 600 medicines. It’s taken by about a quarter of Americans every week.
“The participants had the chance to empathize with the suffering of someone who they thought was going through a socially painful experience," study author Baldwin Way said. "Still, those who took acetaminophen showed a reduction in empathy. They weren't as concerned about the rejected person's hurt feelings."
Way calls the results “concerning.” He may well have abstained from acetaminophen before the interview.