Whether it’s getting dumped by your romantic interest or not being invited to those after-work drinks with your friends, social rejection can literally make our hearts skip a beat.
We all know what rejection feels like – that lump in your throat and that pain in your gut are all classic tell-tale signs. And most of us know what it’s like to have a broken heart. But did you know that being rejected by another person can actually cause your heart to ‘brake’, or in other words, slow down?
Experts at the University of Amsterdam and Leiden University looked at how social pain affects people physically. A group of volunteers were asked to send the researchers photos of themselves. They were told that these photos would be sent off to students at another university, who would judge them according to their first impressions.
But this was just a cover story for the real experiment.
A few weeks later, each volunteer was called to the laboratory and hooked up to an electrocardiogram, a machine to measure their heart rate. They were asked to look at a series of photos of actual students, and guess whether that student had ‘liked’ them. The volunteers were then told whether the student actually ‘liked’ them or not. Unbeknown to the them, this was a computer-generated response – sneaky stuff!
So what the scientists find? Well, the heart rate of the volunteers who found out that the student hadn’t ‘liked’ them dropped and was slow to return to a normal beat – and the researchers called this ‘heartbrake’. Hurt feelings definitely seem to go deeper than first expected…
Picture kindly from here