Popular painkiller ingredient acetaminophen may also make you less empathetic. Now there are two reasons to get it.
Researchers from Ohio State University found that acetaminophen, a common ingredient used in popular pain relief medications like Tylenol, may be making you less empathetic towards other people's pain, in addition to dulling your own.
In comparison to participants who didn't take the drug, participants in the study who consumed acetaminophen believed individuals experienced significantly lesser degrees of pain when they were told about the physical and social misfortunes of others.
Baldwin Way, an assistant professor of psychology and the senior author of this study, explains why sympathizing with crybabies complaining about their problems is in fact important.
We don’t know why acetaminophen is having these effects, but it is concerning.
Empathy is important. If you are having an argument with your spouse and you just took acetaminophen, this research suggests you might be less understanding of what you did to hurt your spouse’s feelings.
The Consumer Health Products Association (CHPA) alleges that over 600 medicines use acetaminophen, and that each week around 23% of all Americans consume a medication containing the ingredient. The details of the experiments used in this study show how a lack of empathy can be pretty disturbing.
In one experiment, all participants were given eight short scenarios where someone suffered physically or emotionally. The scenarios included "a person who suffered a knife cut that went down to the bone" and "a person experiencing the death of his father." Participants who ingested acetaminophen rated the suffering of these people as notably less severe than those who didn't ingest the drug.