Emotions are very complex and emotional intelligence is different in every person. This is the first case in the scientific literature of a woman experiencing an extreme change in emotions after common brain surgery, called “hyper-empathy”.
The woman was treated for a disease known as Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). In this disease, the temporal lobe does not function properly and causes numerous fits in a day. These seizures had a negative impact on her life. This caused hyper empathy later on.
Brain Surgery: Was it the first of its kind?
During the surgery, the doctors removed the temporal lobe. They also removed some parts of the amygdala. This is not a new procedure and has proved to be successful in countless individuals. After the successful operation, the debilitating seizures stopped. However, she reported feeling more empathetic towards people. This was paradoxical as the part of her brain removed should have caused her to have emotional deficits!
“Putting yourself in someone else’s shoe”: Quite literally!
According to the woman, the newfound feeling of “hyper empathy” resonated throughout her body. She could feel emotions physically as well as emotionally. She described them as “spin at the heart” or an “oesophageal unpleasant feeling”. The young woman experienced this feeling when she watched characters on TV, read a book, and even when she met people in real life.
An analysis of the brain
The intrigued researchers involved in the patient evaluation after surgery ran some tests on the woman. The results showed that her mental state was sound, and she scored above average on the tests that assessed her empathy.
Conclusion: Is a change in emotions an anamoly?
Years after this case was reported, the patient’s change in emotions remained the same. She went on to live her life with a new emotional mindset.