Heartbreaks also Hurt the Brain

April 5, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. rejection (n.) [ri-jek-shuhn] – the act of denying or not accepting a person, thing or idea
Example: The manager rejected the faulty project.

2. metaphor (n.) [met-uh-fawr, -fer]  – a symbol or expression used to make an idea easier to understand
Example: The rain is a metaphor for my sadness.

3. former (adj.) [fawr-mer] – something that took place in the past
Example: George W. Bush is the former president of the United States of America.
4. soothing (adj.) [soo-thing] – pleasant to the senses; comforting
Example: Classical music is soothing to the ears.

Read the text below.

A recent brain study showed that rejection can hurt a person not only emotionally but also physically.

Scientists claimed it is no longer just a metaphor to say that one is hurt after a break up with a lover or after being rejected by other people because brain scans reveal that the person who was rejected also experiences a pain similar to physical pain.

The scans showed that physical and emotional pain affect the same region of the brain.

The study involved an experiment with 40 volunteers who had recently gone through a broken relationship that had deeply hurt them and made them feel rejected.

The volunteers were subjected to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in four different situations: (1) viewing the photo of their former lovers and recalling the bitter break-up; (2) viewing the photo of a friend and recalling good moments with him or her; (3) strapping around their arm a device which produces soothing warmth; (4) and strapping the same device with higher and slightly painful temperature.

The results showed that the same part of the brain reacted the same way to both of the negative situations, (1) and (4).

In the past, similar studies made no connection between physical and emotional pain because it involved only light pain. The recent study, however, found a connection because it focused on serious emotional pain.

Through this new finding, experts may be able to find ways to help people who experience rejection or loss.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Why do some people who experience rejection become stronger?
·         What are the things that a person can do in order to overcome rejection?

Discussion B

·         Why do most people try to avoid pain?
·         How can pain be beneficial to us?

April 5, 2011