I think I've read somewhere that our brain acts as if we were physically hurt (as if we feel pain) when we catch someone lying to us. I couldn't find anything about it on google, and my memory is not reliable enough for me to be anywhere near sure of this.

Can anyone confirm this & give a reference to something scientific?


1 Answer 1


Perhaps you're referring to Naomi Eisenberger's work on the neural basis of social pain. Her seminal paper found that the neural correlates of distress from social rejection overlapped with those of physical pain, i.e., dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and anterior insula.

She's recently published a literature review on social pain in the brain (Eisenberger, 2015), summarizing her work and addressing its various controversies.

However, Woo et al. (2014) recently challenged the notion of overlapping neural bases for social and physical pain. They used fancy multivariate methods to analyze the shared vs. distinct neural representations of social vs. physical pain. They conclude:

These findings demonstrate that separate representations underlie pain and rejection despite common [shared] fMRI activity at the gross anatomical level. Rather than co-opting pain circuitry, rejection involves distinct affective representations in humans.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.