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The Lived Experience of Mirror-Touch Synaesthesia: A Qualitative Investigation of Empathy and Social Life

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This report discusses the findings of the first ever study dedicated to the qualitative exploration of mirror-touch synaesthesia from a first-person perspective. As part of a project investigating the cross-disciplinary resonances of mirror-touch in the context of the broader social trait of empathy, this study aimed to document the lived experiences of people with this form of synaesthesia in order to offer insights into existing and new theoretical models for mirror-touch. Through examination of quotes drawn from first-hand accounts given by participating mirror-touch synaesthetes concerning their unique perceptual, interpersonal, and social experiences, this report demonstrates the value of experimental research, in particular first-person reporting, to enhancing the understanding of the way mirror-touch relates to empathy and social functioning beyond its quantitiavely measurable characteristics. The descriptions point to mirror-touch synaesthetes' automatic feeling into the emotional lives of others and their deliberate attempts to regulate this.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 January 2017

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