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Medical News & Perspectives
November 12, 2003

Scientists Find Connections in the Brain Between Physical and Emotional Pain

JAMA. 2003;290(18):2389-2390. doi:10.1001/jama.290.18.2389

Poets muse about the agony of a broken heart. Losing a friend hurts, and rejection can feel like a kick in the gut.

It turns out that these expressions are more than metaphorical. When Wake Forest University psychologist Mark Leary, PhD, investigated the linguistics of pain, he discovered that the overlap is not a coincidence of English. Each of the 15 languages he analyzed likened emotional pain to physical harm.

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