#RobFord has been trending on Twitter for an eternity and the embarrassment of Canada shows no sign of stopping. What is it about our world that is so delighted to watch another Lindsay Lohan-esque train public meltdown?
The human brain actually feels more empathy when bad people suffer – like said trashy crack-addicted bully of a Toronto mayor – than good people. We feel sorry for them when they get what they deserve, moreso than when an innocent toddler has their parents die in a car crash. It seems absolutely ridiculous and counterintuitive to me, but I gotta trust the science on this one.
Researchers from USC analyzed the pain matrix of people as they watched others suffer. The pain matrix is a network in the brain that is comprised of the insula cortex, the anterior cingulate, and the somatosensory cortices. Their study consisted of fMRI monitoring of a group of white Jewish males as they watched videos of innocent people in pain. Watching suffering of innocents did cause the pain matrices to be active, but not nearly as much as when the participants watched anti-Semites in pain.
Counterintuitive and completely ass-backwards? Maybe. But it also might be that individuals try to understand the pain of those Nazi-bastards a bit more to empathize with their humanity and not their beliefs. In other words, the brain works harder to feel the pain of those that are hateful.
My theory is simple: the pain matrix was activated as the participants wanted to feel the pain of the anti-Semites so they could feel them suffer with vindictive sadistic grins on their faces, not empathy. And who would blame them?
As for Rob Ford? His pain is only making my giggle. You made your bed Mayor Ford, sleep in it.