If you have a strong stomach, watch the following video before continuing. We double-dog dare you …
Did the video make you feel anything?
For some, the sensation is stronger than others — a feeling deep within your gut, something that makes you want to look away, as if you can feel the person’s pain, even though you’re perfectly safe sitting there away from the action.
The cringe is a common response, caused by something called “mirror neurons.”
Mirror neurons aren’t a special set of cells in your brain, rather the term refers to a phenomenon of activating neurons that aren’t in use.
You see, when your brain is actively doing things like walking, jumping, laughing or crying, a certain set of neurons are activated to complete the task at hand.
But when you observe someone else performing an action, the exact same neurons light up in your brain as if you were doing it yourself. It's almost like you were there while watching that video, feeling those things those poor people felt.
This behavior allows us to feel empathy when we see someone crying, it makes us happy when we see others laughing, and it makes us cringe when see others get hurt.
And, like most of the shit our body does, we owe it all to evolution.
This is where the saying "monkey see monkey do" comes from. Human's are pretty incredible visual learners, we can see someone complete a task and immediately picture ourselves doing the same thing, and after a couple of trials, we have it mastered.
Without them we wouldn't be able to feel anything if we saw others getting hurt, we wouldn't feel empathy if we saw someone get upset, and we'd probably still be in caves throwing rocks at one another — larger rocks, for fun.
You just learned something!