Social pain and pleasure: The neural underpinnings of social rejection and connection
Naomi Eisenberger, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
Monday, February 4th
View her Faculty website
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Some of the best and worst experiences of life involve the making and breaking of social bonds. In order to better understand the profound experiences associated with social connection and rejection, we have looked to the brain to investigate the basic neural systems that might underlie these complex socioemotional experiences. In this talk, I will explore whether ‘social pain,’ the feelings resulting from social rejection or loss, rely on neural regions that support physical pain processing. I will also examine whether ‘social pleasure,’ specifically the positive feelings associated with giving and receiving social support from others, rely on neural regions that support reward-related processing. Together, the studies presented begin to shed light on the neural systems that work to promote social connection and ultimately survival.