#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

Does heartbreak cause actual pain?

A broken heart isn’t just an abstract concept… and evolution wants it that way.

Image: Foton28 via Flickr/Creative Commmons

EVER FEEL LIKE your heart has been ripped out? That might not be just a metaphorical concept.

When you suffer physical pain, it is registered in the anterior cingulate cortex in the brain.

“Surprisingly, it’s the same region of the brain that’s activated when you feel excluded or experience the loss of a social relationship,” say the folks at AsapSCIENCE.

They explain how social bonds became an important part of the evolutionary process – they can literally mean the difference between surviving or not. As a result, the body and brain has developed to register emotional pain as being as important a cue to note as that of physical pain.

If we didn’t feel the need to be ‘included’ – in a relationship, romantic or otherwise – the social bonds would be weakened and our race would be under threat.

Watch more about the physical reaction to an emotional stimulus here – and how to make it better:

And you thought your break-up was bad…>
Scientists discover new reason why humans began walking on two feet>
NASA-funded Maynooth research project makes evolution breakthrough>

About the author:

Read next: