Getting Burned & Dumped Feel Same to Brain
Ever had a breakup so painful it felt like it burned you to the core? Well, apparently, maybe it kinda did...
A psychology study conducted at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor found that the same pain pathways that were activated in the brain as part of a response to being burned by coffee were also activated when recalling a past failed romance. In other words, the brain seems to use the same connections to process physical and emotional pain.
The study examined 40 individuals who had been dumped by a romantic partner within the past six months. They each received a functional MRI scan (fMRI) to measure activity in different parts of the brain. During the fMRI, they were subjected to physical pain similar to holding a hot cup of coffee, and then they were asked to look at photos of the partner that had broken up with them and recall specific experiences they had together. The same regions of the brain, the secondary somatosensory cortex and the dorsal posterior insula, lit up during both tasks.
The study authors contend that emotional pain and physical pain are connected, and patients with chronic pain could in part be suffering as a result of their past emotional traumas. Furthermore, the results of the study suggest that physical pain could potentially be alleviated by treating emotional pain and vice versa.
Guess our grandmas were onto something when they referred to past romances as old "flames." Budum dum.
Source: Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/28/burn.heartbreak.same.to.brain