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Brain centers light up depending on feelings of love and attachment. New ideas for couples counseling?
Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain
PNAS 2011 ; published ahead of print March 28, 2011, doi:10.1073/pnas.1102693108
How similar are the experiences of social rejection and
physicalpain? Extant research suggests that a network of brain regions thatsupport the affective but not the sensory components of physical pain underlie both experiences. Here we demonstrate that when rejection is powerfully elicited experienced an unwanted break-up view a photograph of their ex-partner as they think about being rejected the sensory components of physical pain (secondary somatosensory cortex; dorsal posterior insula) become active. We demonstratethe overlap between social rejection and physical pain intheseareas by comparing both conditions in the same individualsusing functional MRI. We further demonstrate the specithe secondary somatosensory cortex and dorsal posterior insulaactivity to physical pain by comparing activated locations in ourstudy with a database of over 500 published studies. Activationin these regions was highly diagnostic of physical pain, withpositive predictive values up to 88%. These results give new meaningto the idea that rejection and physical pain are similar not only in that they are bothdistressingas well.—by having people who recently—areas that supportficity of“hurts.” They demonstrate that rejection—they share a common somatosensory representation