Study Shows That Tylenol May Decrease Empathy

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 14:  Tylenol tablets, which contain acetaminophen, are shown on April 14, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. New research has shown that acetaminophen, which is found in many over-the-counter painkillers, can dull feelings of pleasure. Previous research found that the medication had a similar effect with feelings of dread.  (PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 14: Tylenol tablets, which contain acetaminophen, are shown on April 14, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. New research has shown that acetaminophen, which is found in many over-the-counter painkillers, can dull feelings of pleasure. Previous research found that the medication had a similar effect with feelings of dread. (PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Popping a Tylenol might get rid of your headache, but it also could numb your feelings.

A new study published by The Ohio State University in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience shows when people took acetaminophen, the main ingredient in Tylenol, they were less likely to empathize with individuals experiencing pain or misfortune.

“Pain might actually decrease empathy as well. So, there are other factors that need to be taken into account,” said Dominik Mischkowski, co-author of the study and current post doctorate fellow at the National Institutes of Health. He added the sample size is small and researchers are continuing to study the effect.

In the first round of the study, 80 college students read eight different scenarios. Half of the group consumed 1,000 mg of acetaminophen. The group that took the pain medication rated the scenarios as less severe than those that did not take the medication. A second experiment surveyed 114 college students and showed similar results.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Ashley May