Love hurts — the pain is emotional and physical. In the 1970s, scientist Jaak Panseep discovered that puppies separated from their mothers were less likely to cry if given small doses of morphine. Pansee suspected a connection between physical and emotional pain, but couldn’t find a way to replicate his study in humans.
A decade ago though, Naomi Eisenberger did just that at the University of California, Los Angeles. Eisenberger tricked subjects into thinking they were being excluded from games with others and found that the areas of the brain that registered physical pain were the very same areas reacting to the social exclusion.
While physical and emotional pain may overlap, according to the results of a study out of Purdue University, physical pain fades sooner than emotional. When test subjects were asked to recall pain from the past, they provided more detail about emotional pain than they did about a physical injury.
This comes as no surprise to anybody who has ever had a broken heart. Some scars last longer than others.