Contact Information

Event Manager: Mitchell Piercey
Phone: (02) 6201 9462

09 June - June 09, 2015
FOR Public
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Add to Calendar 09/06/2015 4:00 PM 09/06/2015 4:00 PM Australia/Sydney Pain in the brain: the overlap between physical, social and empathy for pain

About the talk

‘Only time can heal your broken heart, just as only time can heal his broken arms and legs’ - Miss Piggy

When we think about pain, we typically think of a physical injury, like breaking a leg. Yet, like Miss Piggy describes, there are a number of instances where our emotional experiences can result in actual pain.

Indeed, pain does not generate activity in one brain region but in many. This network of brain regions, the ‘pain matrix’, extends beyond regions associated with sensation to include those associated with our emotional experience.

In fact, ‘empathy for pain’, the perception of another’s experience of pain, and ‘social pain’, like rejection and heartbreak, also activate the pain matrix.

Here, Bernadette will discuss how our brain processes these types of pain and how they may be linked to the same brain processes as when we hurt ourselves.

About the speaker

Bernadette Fitzgibbon is a neuroscientist working in translational pain research and investigating how models of social cognition, such as how we understand another’s experience of pain or our own heart break, may help us to better understand physical pain. Her research uses state-of-the-art neuroimaging, neurophysiology, and brain stimulation techniques to help measure and visualise brain activity and anatomy involved in pain perception. She is supported by a NHMRC ECR Fellowship and is based at Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Monash University. Bernadette completed her PhD in 2011 where she conducted the first ever clinical and neurophysiological studies of a new pain phenomenon, ‘pain contagion’ where the observation of pain in another triggers the experience of pain to the self, in people who have lost a limb(s). Her work has been extensively communicated to the public, including in New Scientist magazine, The Psychologist, The Conversation, and Australasian Science.

Shine Dome,9 Gordon Street Australian Capital Territory false DD/MM/YYYY

Contact Information

Event Manager: Mitchell Piercey
Phone: (02) 6201 9462

4:00 PM June 09, 2015

Pain in the brain: the overlap between physical, social and empathy for pain

About the talk

‘Only time can heal your broken heart, just as only time can heal his broken arms and legs’ - Miss Piggy

When we think about pain, we typically think of a physical injury, like breaking a leg. Yet, like Miss Piggy describes, there are a number of instances where our emotional experiences can result in actual pain.

Indeed, pain does not generate activity in one brain region but in many. This network of brain regions, the ‘pain matrix’, extends beyond regions associated with sensation to include those associated with our emotional experience.

In fact, ‘empathy for pain’, the perception of another’s experience of pain, and ‘social pain’, like rejection and heartbreak, also activate the pain matrix.

Here, Bernadette will discuss how our brain processes these types of pain and how they may be linked to the same brain processes as when we hurt ourselves.

About the speaker

Bernadette Fitzgibbon is a neuroscientist working in translational pain research and investigating how models of social cognition, such as how we understand another’s experience of pain or our own heart break, may help us to better understand physical pain. Her research uses state-of-the-art neuroimaging, neurophysiology, and brain stimulation techniques to help measure and visualise brain activity and anatomy involved in pain perception. She is supported by a NHMRC ECR Fellowship and is based at Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Monash University. Bernadette completed her PhD in 2011 where she conducted the first ever clinical and neurophysiological studies of a new pain phenomenon, ‘pain contagion’ where the observation of pain in another triggers the experience of pain to the self, in people who have lost a limb(s). Her work has been extensively communicated to the public, including in New Scientist magazine, The Psychologist, The Conversation, and Australasian Science.

Shine Dome,9 Gordon Street Australian Capital Territory

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