Humans are very social beings and they depend on each other they build connection and learn in groups they share their experiences to maintain their health and well-being. This leads us to something called Society that we must live in, contribute and be a part of something to create a better Society.

We have a variety of societies and civilization and they have a lot differences between them, but there's just one thing that is common between them, which is emotions! Who is better to describe feelings than poets writers and artists, although their societies differ from each other all of them happen to express very similar descriptions for losing the ones that they love, breakups, and being neglected.


According to psychiatrists finding acceptance in society and being a part of something greater than yourself is the exact same need for food, shelter, and safety ‌‌as we grow. Responsibilities grow with us and our need in being accepted in society we can grow emotions towards somebody or a group of people and sometimes we're not lucky in those relationships. And when they fail we express our emotions or our feelings ( about this certain situation) we say that we are "hurt" and we are in "pain".  We express this kind of emotion the same way if you we're hit by a ball in your face or when you fall down stairs or just being exhausted from work.

‌‌In 2005 the married couple Naomi Eisenberger and Matthew Liberman at University of California have done some research on the term (social pain) as well as (social exclusion) and the connection between physical and emotional pain , to study this subject they wanted to do an experiment to see the actual impact for being not socially accepted or neglected and how its effects us .

Matthew Liberman
Naomi Eisenberger

The experiment is actually three persons in the front of their laptops , are playing a simple game , tossing a ball from one to another but actually it is only one player and the other two players are (AI)s so the game starts , our subject is tossing the ball at the BOTS without knowing they are BOTS and they tossing it back to him but the BOTS start tossing back the ball only between them and neglecting our subject of the study meanwhile observing his brain activity and monitoring the regions that are affected in this process.

Shockingly... they found that the exact regions in the brain are activated when we encounter physical pain, experts says that's it's like the Body "borrowed" those regions to make us feel that's maybe we are in danger or we have to do something about the current stand to "survive".

After a study in the University of Michigan ‌‌Ethan Kross is a social psychologist in the University of Michigan, he said:

Ethan Kross
‌‌That if someone was feeling bad about a certain social event if it was a break up or losing someone you admire at the same time spilling a cup of coffee over his hand he would feel two different kind of pain (physical and psychological)

but the study that he held shows that they are actually very very similar to each other ‌‌40 people participated in the study and there where asked to do two task ‌‌Either by seeing a picture of the person they separated from and regaining their feelings during that experience, or by seeing a picture of one of their friends and retrieving good recent memories they spent with that friend , for the physical part they had to connect the participant wrests with heat generating bracelets like if they were a very hot cup of coffee , ‌‌Meanwhile scanning their brains with MRI , after analyzing data and comparing it with more than 500 study related to physical and psychological pain they got the same results as Naomi and her husband as mentioned before !

Social exclusion could lead to a serious health problems for those who in need for healthcare like depression according to the American Cancer Society depression is a huge factor in cancer patient's overall condition. With enough support we could manage to have a great impact on those patients status.

Studies shows that patient who got support from their societies ( family and friends) have shown a lot of improvement in their condition, and ladies that we're about to have a baby when they have an companion with them during their labor the use of painkiller is reduced and they feel less pain after the operation . has provided some tips for being subjected to some kind of social pain and how to deal with it:

  • Don't take it personally , some people are just not good for you to build a healthy relationship with , and that doesn't mean that you are a bad person you can't just be having a strong relationship with everybody .
  • Promote and respect yourself because self-respect will help you to protect yourself and increase your self-acceptance.
  • Take care of your body with sports healthy food and good habits because it's might be a great factor to overcome psychological pain due to social exclusion.

There's a question is lurking in the dark can we get rid of our emotional pain or the impact of social exclusion using medication like in physical pain?

Yes ! indeed , Studies have shown that some drug's like SSRI and even mild painkillers can reduce emotional pain which can spiral into physical problems. Please check out our medicine tag, consult with your doctor first and foremost.

ACETAMINOPHEN (consult a doctor)

Social exclusion is a is a great matter and we should comprehend its effects on us and on our loved ones and never underestimate it psychological and physical impact , we should stand against all of its shapes in our societies, like : bullying , not respecting our differences , being narrow-minded toward certain things .‌‌Be safe


Ethan Kross | U-M LSA Department of Psychology