How do we process the pain of hateful people?

Frontiers | Witnessing hateful people in pain modulates brain activity in regions associated with physical pain and reward | Cognitive Science.

We published this paper about a year ago, and I thought it would be nice to provide a link to it here from my website as well.  We showed that in a set of brain regions normally more active when seeing loved ones in pain ( compared to neutral or even disliked people), that witnessing hateful people in pain elicited more activity than when watching tolerant people in pain.  The brain is a big flexible mess; these results showed one more aspect of how flexible the brain is when we perform complex social cognition.  We posited that the increased activity in these regions is attributable to the increased saliency and potential threat posed by the hateful people, and this also is capable of driving up activity.