BEIJING, March 29 (Xinhuanet) -- A new study has found that rejection can literally hurt in the same way as physical pain does, according to media reports Tuesday.
Researchers found that intense emotional pain, such as feelings of rejection after a breakup of a relationship, can trigger brain activities similar to when people suffer physical pain.
The research findings were published in Tuesday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study followed 40 volunteers who experienced unwanted romantic breakups in the past six months, and the researchers analyzed their brain activity during two "painful" situations.
The results showed that the two situations, thinking about the loss of their ex-partner and experiencing mild physical pain similar to holding a very hot coffee cup, caused response in the overlapping parts of the brain.
"This tells us how serious rejection can be sometimes," said study author Edward E. Smith, director of cognitive neuroscience at Columbia University.
Smith added. "Our ultimate goal is to see what kind of therapeutic approach might be useful in relieving the pain of rejection."