LOVE Study: Rejection May Hurt Just Like Physical Pain

Jacy

red lipstick brigade
Aug 26, 2002
13,481
San Francisco
Just thought you guys would find it interesting:

Memories of devastating heartbreaks appear to trigger activity in the brain that's similar to when people suffer physical pain, new research suggests.

"This tells us how serious rejection can be sometimes," said study author Edward E. Smith, director of cognitive neuroscience at Columbia University. "When people are saying 'I really feel in pain about this breakup,' you don't want to trivialize it and dismiss it by saying 'It's all in your mind.'"

The finding could lead to more than a better understanding of the link between emotional and physical pain, Smith said. "Our ultimate goal is to see what kind of therapeutic approach might be useful in relieving the pain of rejection."

Previous research has shown a link between what Smith calls "socially induced pain" -- the kind you get from dealing with other people -- and physical pain. For the new study, Smith and colleagues looked at rejection specifically.

"From everyday experience, rejection seems to be one of the most painful things we experience," Smith said. "It seems the feelings of rejection can be sustained even longer than being angry."

But where do you find rejected people? In New York City, of course, where hundreds or even thousands of relationships must fall apart every day. The researchers advertised online and in newspapers in search of people whose romantic partners had broken up with them. In all cases, they hadn't wanted the breakups to happen.

Forty people, all of whom felt "intensely rejected," ultimately took part in the study. As the researchers scanned their brains, the participants were told to look at photos, including photos of their friends (they were directed to think positive thoughts about them), and photos of their exes (they were directed to think about their breakup).

The participants also underwent brain scans as they felt pain on their forearms similar to the feeling of holding a hot cup of coffee.

The findings appear in this week's online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Several of the same areas of the brain became active when the participants felt either physical pain or emotional pain. In fact, the two types of pain seem to share more regions of the brain than previously thought, Smith noted.

What about other kinds of emotional pain? Do they have the same effect on the brain? Maybe not. Smith said rejection appears to be in a class by itself in terms of its similarity to physical pain.

Future research could examine how emotional pain due to rejection affects how people feel physical pain, said Robert C. Coghill, an associate professor in the department of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Would rejected people feel more pain than other people? And what about after they get reminded about their rejections by looking at pictures?

For now, one thing is clear: brain scan or no brain scan, rejection hurts.

Source: http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/651291.html
 

ForgottenSpiral

Hope and Irony
OT Supporter
Feb 2, 2004
23,336
NoVA
I think the same region of my brain lit up when I read this thread.

jk :mamoru:

Interesting post. :h5: I'm curious to see what further development this research brings.
 

Genghis.Tron

New Member
Oct 14, 2002
5,124
Great White North
Most studies on empathy and social rejection show that the same brain regions involved in physical are involved in those constructs too. Evolutionary speaking it's awesome because it uses brain regions already in place. The regions involved in fear (amygdala, cingulate cortex) are also involved in empathy and pathological lack of empathy (psychopathy).

I find it weird that some people seem skeptic but fail to do a simple search on google scholar.

There you go.
http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=...en-GB___CA411&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=ws
 

Ep

Most studies on empathy and social rejection show that the same brain regions involved in physical are involved in those constructs too. Evolutionary speaking it's awesome because it uses brain regions already in place. The regions involved in fear (amygdala, cingulate cortex) are also involved in empathy and pathological lack of empathy (psychopathy).

I find it weird that some people seem skeptic but fail to do a simple search on google scholar.

There you go.
http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=...en-GB___CA411&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=ws

I didn't have time to check myself at that point.
 

GammaRadiation

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2007
29,256
Random Location.FL
May hurt like physical pain?

Well maybe not asking a bar skank for her number, but when its someone you actually care about, yeah. Worse than actual physical pain because it doesnt fade in the same manner.
 

WhiteyFordsBlue

New Member
Jan 12, 2011
346
Nothing hits you more at the core of you as a human being than being rejected. All of the doubts, insecurities, and fears are no longer possibilities, they're a reality. And that reality is staring you in the face in the form of someone you want, and their response was, "You're not good enough for me."


Hurts to even write that.
 

pollux

OT Supporter
Aug 31, 2003
2,402
What about that study where men are shown to take more risks when in the presence of attractive women?
 

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