Evolution Has Made the Brain Register Rejection as Actual Physical Pain

#Science

Sat, Jul 27th, 2013 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Salon an article that looks at the reasons why our brain will register rejection as actual physical pain. In fact, rejection can "elicit emotional pain so sharp it affects our thinking, floods us with anger, erodes our confidence and self-esteem, and destabilizes our fundamental feeling of belonging."

Emotional Pain: Why Even Stupid Rejections Smart a Lot

Imagine you’re sitting in a waiting room with two other strangers. One of them spots a ball on the table, picks it up, and tosses it to the other. That person then smiles, looks over, and tosses the ball to you. Let’s assume your tossing and catching abilities are up to the task. You toss the ball back to the first person, who quickly tosses it to the second. But then instead of tossing the ball to you, the second person tosses it back to the first person, cutting you out of the game. How would you feel in that situation? Would your feelings be hurt? Would it affect your mood? What about your self-esteem?

Most of us would scoff at the idea. Two strangers didn’t pass me a stupid ball in a waiting room, big deal! Who cares? But when psychologists investigated this very situation, they found something quite remarkable. We do care, far more than we realize.

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