Broken Hearts and Broken Bones
Although it is common to describe experiences of social rejection or loss with words typically reserved for physical pain, the idea that these social experiences might actually be experienced as painful seems more far-fetched. However, accumulating evidence demonstrates that social pain—the painful feelings following social rejection or loss—may rely on pain-related neural circuitry. Here, I summarize a program of research that has explored whether social pain relies on pain-related neural regions, as well as some of the expected consequences of a physical–social pain overlap. I also discuss the implications of these findings for our understanding of social pain.