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“Broken-hearted” isn’t just a metaphor—social pain and physical pain have a lot in common, according to Naomi Eisenberger of the University of Califiornia-Los Angeles, the author of a new paper published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. In the paper, she surveys recent research on the overlap between physical and social pain. ... More>
Placebos reduce pain by creating an expectation of relief. Distraction—say, doing a puzzle—relieves it by keeping the brain busy. But do they use the same brain processes? Neuromaging suggests they do. When applying a placebo, scientists see activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. That’s the part of the brain that controls high-level cognitive functions like working memory and attention—which is what you use to do that distracting puzzle. ... More>