If you see someone with a spider on his arm, you can almost feel as if the spider was on your own arm.
Using fMRI, we scanned the brain of people while they were perceiving someone being touched on the leg and while they were experiencing touch
of their own leg. The same brain region in the secondary somatosensory cortex was activated in both conditions, suggesting that our brain
"simulates" the touch to understand it (PDF).
What would happen if you do not understand the feeling of the other person being touched ? Then you'll not be able to empahize with people or to predict that one of your action could please/harm people..again your behaviour may be difficult to adapt in various contexts.
Laboratorio de Neurociencia Integrativa