How many of us have at one point or another been rejected by a romantic interest? You feel as if your world were crashing, your life meaningless and so on.  Some of us weather the rejection by denying ourselves nourishment, a rather painful way of losing weight.  Others, like myself, find solace in a large piece of apple pie a la mode.  As the sugar rushes in, it turns on the pleasure center, much as narcotics do.  Yet, it wasn’t until just recently that medical science actually attempted to find out where in the brain the pain of rejection is felt.

A researcher at the University of Michigan found 40 poor schmucks who had just been dumped by a partner. He then mercilessly showed them either a picture of their ex or burned their forearm while undergoing a functional MRI. How in God’s name this guy (and it was a man of course!) got this study approved by the ethics committee, I cannot imagine. Just for a minute think about the consent form: Hey there, we know that you just broke up with the love of your life. We feel your pain-no wait, we really don’t understand where in
God’s name the pain is felt.  We stay awake at night wondering which part of the brain lights up when you have just had the worst day of your life. As such we want to show you in all his or her glory a great picture of your ex or even better burn your forearm.  All of course in the name of medical science. That educational site is the superlative place to use as writing service for research papers.

Well, forty people actually signed up  and guess what?  The same areas of the brain became active in both tests. The researcher’s conclusion:” social rejection hurts”.  Well, it hurts at least as much as a forearm burn.  I wonder whether this guy comes up with another great research project, say comparing the pain experienced when you lose your job to that felt when your finger is amputated.