Did that pick-up line fail again? Boy, that's really gotta hurt bad

Monday, October 13, 2003

Anyone who's had a broken heart knows the pain is real, but now a team of researchers at UCLA have found physical evidence to prove it.

The part of the brain that registers injuries the anterior cingulate cortex or ACC reacts the same way to a punch in the nose as it does to a social snubbing. The researchers, led by scientist Naomi I. Eisenberger, discovered this through an experiment in which test subjects were made to believe they were being excluded from a computer game.

Apparently, exclusion from others is perceived by the brain as being harmful to survival. The need to be accepted might be as important to humans as not getting their hand stuck in a vise.

If the pain of rejection is the same to a person's brain as the pain of getting into a brawl, maybe now people can be prosecuted for "forgetting" to send out that party invitation, or men who don't call the next day could face jail time.

Seriously, the study is important because it reveals the very real impact of emotional pain on the human body. It's already understood how such pain contributes to stress and depression, and now this finding could lead to an even deeper insight into the physical effects of things such as teasing and bullying.