Fathers-to-be, take note: You may be more useful in the labor and delivery room than you realize.
That’s one takeaway from a study released last week that found that when an empathetic partner holds the hand of a woman in pain, their heart and respiratory rates sync and her pain dissipates.
“The more empathic the partner and the stronger the analgesic effect, the higher the synchronization between the two when they are touching,” said lead author Pavel Goldstein, a postdoctoral pain researcher in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at CU Boulder.
The study of 22 couples, published in the journal Scientific Reports last week, is the latest in a growing body of research on “interpersonal synchronization,” the phenomenon in which individuals begin to physiologically mirror the people they’re with.
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