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Love Hurts: The Study

So, I came across this article today on social pain (rejection, breakup, familial, etc) and it's correlation to actual physical pain. This bit was interesting to me:

Hints of a neural tie between social and physical pain emerged, quite unexpectedly, in the late 1970s. APS Fellow Jaak Panksepp, an animal researcher, was studying social attachment in puppies. The infant dogs cried when they were separated from their mothers, but these distress calls were much less intense in those that had been given a low dose of morphine, Panksepp reported in Biological Psychiatry. The study’s implication was profound: If an opiate could dull emotional angst, perhaps the brain processed social and physical pain in similar ways.

Panksepp’s findings on social distress were replicated in a number of other species — monkeys, guinea pigs, rats, chickens. The concept was hard to test in people, however, until the rise of neuroimaging decades later.


For someone like me, reading things like this make my life make more sense. And makes some humans make more sense.

Early humans needed social bonds to survive: things like acquiring food, eluding predators, and nursing offspring are all easier done in partnership with others. Maybe over time this social alert system piggybacked onto the physical pain system so people could recognize social distress and quickly correct it.

I'd totally volunteer to give a study like this more data. Why could I not have been smart enough to get into neuroscience? Oh well. If you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter and whatnot.


I just thought this was too interesting not to share. Cheers!

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