Sunday, August 20, 2006

Why It Hurts to Be Left Out: The Neurocognitive Overlap Between Physical and Social Pain

Eisenberger, N.I. & Lieberman, M.D. (2005). Why it hurts to be left out: The neurocognitive overlap between physical and social pain. In K. D. Williams, J. P. Forgas, & W. von Hippel (Eds.), The Social Outcast: Ostracism, Social Exclusion, Rejection, and Bullying (pp. 109-127). New York: Cambridge University Press. 

Pain overlap theory proposes that social pain, the pain that we experience when social relationships are damaged or lost, and physical pain, the pain that we experience upon physical injury, share parts of the same underlying processing system (Eisenberger & Lieberman, 2004). Th is system is responsible for detecting the presence or possibility of physical or social harm and recruiting attention once something has gone wrong in order to fi x it. Evolutionarily, this overlap makes good sense. Based on mammalian infants’ lengthy period of immaturity and their critical need for substantial maternal contact and care, it is possible that the social attachment system, the system that keeps us near close others, may have piggybacked onto the pre-existing pain system, borrowing the pain signal to signify and prevent the danger of social separation (Nelson & Panksepp, 1998; Panksepp, 1998)."dewall baumeister pain"

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