It’s Official: Love Hurts

March 29, 2011 7:24 am 1 comment

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You’ve all heard the song; now review the research: Scientists at Columbia University have determined that intense emotional pain can activate the same neural pathways as physical pain. Time magazine reports on the research, for which scientists studied brain images from 40 volunteers who were recently taken by surprise when their significant other rejected them. The scientists asked participants to rate their pain when viewing a picture of their ex and a picture of a good friend with whom they had had good experiences. The participants then rated their pain during physical stimuli — one stimulus simulated the heat from holding a hot cup of coffee, while the other was a warm probe that was less painful. Time reports that the jilted volunteers all reported feeling more pain when viewing pictures of their exes than when looking at their friends, and their brains showed that the pain extended beyond the regions normally associated with such emotional triggers. Even the physical areas that were activated during the hot physical stimulus were active when the subjects were looking at pictures of their exes. Read more in Time.

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