To date, neuroscience research in this area has identified shared neural networks whereby we process another’s action, emotion or sensation through overlapping brain regions as if we were carrying out that same action or experiencing that same emotion or sensation. Intriguingly, this research has shown that such vicarious activation of brain networks can span from an automatic and unconscious process through to an overt experience of the emotion or sensation of that observed in another person.

Vicarious experience in the collective

Bernadette M. Fitzgibbon, Jamie Ward and Peter G. Enticott