The Power of Social Relationships

Naomi I. Eisenberger University of California, Los Angeles

Eisenberger_NaomiThere’s no doubt about it, rejection hurts. One of the goals of Naomi Eisenberger’s research is to understand why.  She looks at why emotional and physical well-being are so strongly affected by social relationships. She examines the underlying neural systems of complex socioemotional experiences (e.g. the rewards of social inclusion and the pains of social rejection) using neuroimaging techniques. Her work suggests that some of the neural regions that typically process physical pain may also be activated when experiencing social pain. She recently started exploring the neural underpinnings of positive feelings associated with social connection. In 2011, Eisenberger received a Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

Q&A with Naomi I. Eisenberger