Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sticks And Stones: A New Study On Social And Physical Pain

Date:
August 28, 2008
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
According to a new study, words may pack a harder punch that we realize. Psychologists have found that while the pain of physical events may fade with time, the pain of social occurrences can be reinstantiated through memory retrievals.

We all know the famous saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” but is this proverb actually true?

According to some researchers, words may pack a harder punch that we realize. Psychologists Zhansheng Chen and Kipling D. Williams of Purdue University, Julie Fitness of Macquarie University, and Nicola C. Newton of the University of New South Wales found that the pain of physical events may fade with time, while the pain of social occurrences can be re-instantiated through memory retrievals.

The researchers set up four experiments to demonstrate this finding. In the first two experiments, participants reported the amount of pain they felt while trying to relive a physically or a socially painful experience. After writing detailed accounts of each experience, the participants reported how they felt.

The last two experiments were similar to the first two, except participants were asked to work on some cognitive tasks with different levels of difficulty after reliving a socially or physically painful event.

The results, published in the August issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, are clear. Participants who had to recall a socially painful experience reported stronger feelings of pain and relived the experience more intensely than those who had to recall a physically painful event. Furthermore, participants who only had to recall a physically painful event performed better on the difficult mental tasks in comparison to those who had to relive a socially painful event.

A possible explanation for these results could be the evolution of the human brain, specifically in an area called the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for complex thinking, perception and language processing.

“The evolution of the cerebral cortex certainly improved the ability of human beings to create and adapt; to function in and with groups, communities, and culture; and to respond to pain associated with social interactions,” the authors wrote. “However, the cerebral cortex may also have had an unintended effect of allowing humans to relive, re-experience, and suffer from social pain.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Sticks And Stones: A New Study On Social And Physical Pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080827164140.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2008, August 28). Sticks And Stones: A New Study On Social And Physical Pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080827164140.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Sticks And Stones: A New Study On Social And Physical Pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080827164140.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins