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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Love hurts: Heartache can cause physical pain

A study shows that rejection can cause more than sorrow. USC students comment on whether they believe love hurts them physically.


Getting your heart broken can be painful, even physically painful.

According to a new study by the University of Michigan, researchers found that the feelings of social rejection affect the same regions of the brain involved in physical pain.

"This idea that ‘my feelings hurt’ may well be more than a metaphor,” said University of Michigan social psychologist Dr. Ethan Kross, lead author of the article published about the study.

During the study, researches asked 40 people who recently went through an unwanted romantic breakup in the last six months to look at a picture of their ex. Then they were asked to hold a hot cup of coffee. Researchers found that the pain reaction in the brain was exactly the same for each scenario.

The findings in the study will be published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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