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Harv Bus Rev. 2011 Apr;89(4):28-9.

Hurt feelings? You could take a pain reliever...

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University of Kentucky, USA.


THE FINDING: Daily doses of acetaminophen alleviate hurt feelings and reduce neural activity related to the pain of social rejection.


The University of Kentucky's C. Nathan DeWall asked 62 undergraduates to take 1,ooo milligrams of acetaminophen or a placebo for three weeks. Each evening they recorded how much social pain they'd felt that day. The hurt feelings of those who took acetaminophen decreased significantly over time; people who took the placebo showed no change. In a related study, functional MRIs showed that people who had taken acetaminophen also had less activity in the brain regions that respond to emotional pain. THE CHALLENGE: Aren't mental and physical pain entirely different? Can over-the-counter analgesics improve your emotional state if, say, you get fired?

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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