Article

Why Rejection Hurts: What Social Neuroscience Has Revealed About the Brain’s Response to Social Rejection

Naomi I. Eisenberger

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342161
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195342161.013.0039

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Why Rejection Hurts: What Social Neuroscience Has Revealed About the Brain’s Response to Social Rejection

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This chapter reviews evidence from behavioral, pharmacological, and social neuroscience research that supports the notion that physical and social pain rely on shared neural substrates. It then reviews some of the unexpected and potentially surprising consequences that arise from such a physical-social-pain overlap. Specifically, it considers evidence showing that, even though experiences of physical and social pain seem very different from one another on the surface, individuals who are more sensitive to one kind of pain are also more sensitive to the other. It also reviews evidence demonstrating that factors that alter one kind of pain experience alter the other in a congruent manner. Finally, the chapter concludes by discussing what this shared neural circuitry means for our experience and understanding of social pain.

Keywords: social rejection; social pain; neural circuitry; physical pain; neural substrates

Article.  8875 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Social Psychology

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