The Confluence Of Physical And Mental Pain

in medicine, biology, education

Imaging you lose a game. Do you think the brain area that is responsible for you to feel this pain is the same as the brain area that controls your pain due to physical injury? Well, a new study in the prestigious journal Science says both pains are controlled by same part of the brain. Scientists performed brain imaging on volunteers experiencing psychological pain and found that the active regions in their brain correspond to regions affected by physical pain. Experts say the study, from the journal Science, is a hint to the importance the brain places on social ties. The researchers involved in the study, from the University of California at Los Angeles, used an MRI scanner to probe the brains of their test subject as their feelings were manipulated. These scanners can detect subtle changes in blood flow to various parts of the brain - which indicate when the region is active. To provoke the right response, they devised an ingenious computer simulation designed to be reminiscent of a playground game. The participants were shown a screen which gave the appearance of a "ball-throwing" game involving both the volunteer and two other figures, represented by animated characters. The test subjects were told that real people were controlling the other two "people", and the game took the form of throwing the ball in turn between all three of them. Source: BBC

Share this