What Brain Scans Reveal About Hurt Feelings

Posted on December 9, 2013

Hurt feelings literally do hurt

Almost every language in the world uses an expression similar to ‘hurt feelings’ to describe the emotional response we have to being rejected. The question is, why are rejections so painful?

Among the various kinds of psychological injuries we sustain in daily life (such as failure or guilt), rejections are by far the most common as well as the most painful. When a loved one breaks up with us, when our classmates bully us, or when our communities shun us, the emotional pain we feel can be excruciating. Even minor rejections such as when our friends ignore our posts on social media, or when our neighbors don’t invite us to their parties, can really sting.

But what happens in our brains when we get rejected? Scientists asked people who were recently rejected by their romantic partner to lie in an fMRI scanner while they gazed at photographs of their exes and thought about the intense rejection they experienced. They found that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as get activated when we experience physical pain.

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Source material from Brain Blogger

Mental Health News