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Rejection Can Cause Physical Pain

Rejection Can Cause Physical PainNew research suggests the the classic rock and roll song Love Hurts, has validity as scientists discover a breakup in a social relationship can indeed cause physical pain.

The new study shows that small genetic differences in the gene for the opioid receptor can determine the intensity of people’s responses to social rejection.

In the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles questioned people about their responses to social rejection, which is a form of emotional stress.

They also performed brain scans on people playing a video game in which they were excluded from tossing a ball with computer-generated players.

The results showed that people with a certain mutation in their opioid receptor reacted more strongly to social rejection than those with a normal opioid receptor.

Dr Heilig says that “strengthening the conclusions from this study is the fact that a similar polymorphism [genetic difference] has independently arisen in the rhesus macaque.”

The same portion of the brain that is responsible for the response to physical pain became activated as a result of social rejection, suggesting that, to our brains, emotions really can “hurt.”

Source: Faculty of 1000: Biology and Medicine

Rejection Can Cause Physical Pain

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Rejection Can Cause Physical Pain. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 14, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/12/04/rejection-can-cause-physical-pain/9947.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.