One of the most popular and sought after pain killers on the market, Tylenol (Acetaminophen) has been proven to blunt the emotions. The latest study indicated that both negative and positive emotions can be blunted by the popular drug.


The controlled trial tested the effects of Tylenol on 85 people. They were separated in two groups, one was given 1000 milligrams of Tylenol, while the other was given a placebo drug. A series of 40 images, randomly set, has been shown to both groups after one hour, and the pictures showed various scenes. There were pleasant scenes, like a child playing with a kitten, neutral scenes, like an ordinary pin on a table, and very unpleasant scenes, like a toilet that is overflowing. The pictures scaled form extremely unpleasant (10 pictures), moderately unpleasant (5 pictures), neutral (10 pictures), moderately pleasant (5 pictures) to extremely pleasant (10 pictures).  The participants of the study were asked to rate their reactions to the images, on a 0 to 10 scale, with 0 being the “little to no emotion” level, and 10 being the “extreme amount of emotions” level.

The study published in “Psychological Science” indicated that the group which was given the Tylenol rated the extremely pleasant images 20 per cent less than the placebo group. Moreover, the Tylenol group also rated the extremely unpleasant pictures 10 per cent less than the other group, given placebo. With no explanation as to why this has happened, the logical explanation is that the drug affects the insula, a part of the brain responsible for pain, but also social emotions.

The leading author of the study, Geoffrey R. O. Durso, who is currently attending his PhD studies in psychology at the Ohio State University said that “We don’t want to make any recommendations concerning acetaminophen use.”Durso added that “These are modest differences in a very controlled setting. We recommend following the advice of your doctor with regard to managing pain with Tylenol.”