Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 91(1), Jul 2006, 1-15.
Alone but Feeling No Pain: Effects of Social Exclusion on Physical Pain Tolerance and Pain Threshold,Affective Forecasting, and Interpersonal Empathy
C. Nathan DeWall, Roy F. Baumeister
Prior findings of emotional numbness (rather than distress) among socially excluded persons led us to investigate whether exclusion causes a far-reaching insensitivity to both physical and emotional pain. Experiments 1-4 showed that receiving an ostensibly diagnostic forecast of a lonesome future life reduced sensitivity to physical pain, as indicated by both (higher) thresholds and tolerance. Exclusion also caused emotional insensitivity, as indicated by reductions in affective forecasting of joy or woe over a future football outcome (Experiment 3), as well as lesser empathizing with another person’s suffering from either romantic breakup (Experiment 4) or a broken leg (Experiment 5). The insensitivities to pain and emotion were highly intercorrelated.
http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~dewall/DeWallBaumeisterRejPainJPSPpreprint.pdf#search="Alone but Feeling No Pain: Effects of Social Exclusion on Physical Pain Tolerance and Pain Threshold, Affective Forecasting and Interpersonal Empathy"