chapter
20 Pages

Hurt feelings

Physical pain, social exclusion, and the psychology of pain overlap
WithLaura J. Ferris

The idea of social—physical pain overlap hints at a unifying concept of human pain and suffering. Pain is a primal and familiar experience — whether from injury, child birth, and the myriad sources of painfulness that are part of life. Seminal research has highlighted commonalities between the experience of social pain and physical pain. The science of pain has been a study of the physical pain mechanisms falling largely within the domain of medicine. The idea of pain overlap challenges early theories of pain mechanisms because of the absence of specific or characterized social pain receptors in the body. The chapter shows how a psychological lens can reveal where social and physical pain diverge in important ways. The conceptual advances have highlighted the critical role of social psychology, with its ontological traditions of scientific concern for cognitions, emotions, and the behaviour of groups and individuals. The social element of pain is integral in understanding the pain experience and its functions.