Study illuminates the ‘pain’ of social rejection
March 25, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Physical pain and intense feelings of social rejection “hurt” in the same way, a new study shows.The study demonstrates that the same regions of the brain that become active in response to painful sensory experiences are activated during intense experiences of social rejection.
“These results give new meaning to the idea that social rejection ‘hurts’,” said University of Michigan social psychologist Ethan Kross, lead author of the article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “On the surface, spilling a hot cup of coffee on yourself and thinking about how rejected you feel when you look at the picture of a person that you recently experienced an unwanted break-up with may seem to elicit very different types of pain. (Download full study PDF.)
“But this research shows that they may be even more similar than initially thought.”
Kross, an assistant professor at the U-M Department of Psychology and faculty associate at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR), conducted the study with U-M colleague Marc Berman, Columbia University’s Walter Mischel and Edward Smith, also affiliated with the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and with Tor Wager of the University of Colorado, Boulder. (more…)