I didn’t know it hurt till they put my head in a scanner

To be filed under the heading, “Neuroscience News Flash: Rejection Is Painful”

The regions of the brain that respond to physical pain overlap with those that react to social rejection, according to a study that used brain imaging on people involved in romantic breakups.

“These results give new meaning to the idea that rejection ‘hurts.'”

[From PsycPORT Article]

I just love the way neuroscience adds to our insights.

No, check that sarcasm. I think there’s a lot to be gained from these kinds of studies, and I support them. I just don’t support the pop conclusions some researchers draw from them (or maybe it’s journalists who are to blame).

And I don’t support the breathless sense of discovery that often accompanies articles like this, when it’s something we’ve known all along. We don’t require fancy machinery to tell us what we knew just by being human. It implies that we didn’t know it until we knew it scientifically, which is silly. Rejection was painful before fMRIs were invented.