Heartbreak “physically” hurts (and what this has to do with science communications)

2 Oct

I mean, yes, there are songs about it, there are movies about it, but most of the time when we say “love hurts” it means more of an emotional type of hurt. But guess what, there is actually research showing that the areas of the brain that deal with pain caused by physical stimuli actually respond to painful thoughts of break-ups, and that physical pains and emotional pains are more similar than we originally thought.

Aside from this being an interesting study, the reason why I want to talk about this is because I actually found the write-up about this research from an online fashion magazine (I know, I am a nerd who reads and breathes science, yet I also like pretty clothes and shoes…ah shoes…). And the research quoted is from PNAS – actually a reliable scientific journal (none of those made-up magazine stuff, even though the research was actually done 1.5 years ago (if you know of any updates, let me know!). And when I compare the 3 write-ups on the same research – one from the fashion magazine, one from a science news website, and then the original article, it is interesting how the fashion magazine seems to use the more relatable terms and the most catchy title (and obviously the most eh, “interesting” photo). This says a lot about writing to your audience, but also demonstrates how research projects can be written in a fun and approachable way for the general public (granted that it might be difficult for some other research projects…).

Anyways, here are the 3 articles I checked out – Enjoy!

Refinery29 Why Love Hurts So Damn Much — Figuratively AND Literally

Science Daily Study Illuminates the “Pain” of Social Rejection

PNAS Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with pain

Note: actually I was just thinking a few days ago that to get people to learn more about science, we should have scientists start writing science columns in magazines that do not seem to be related to science, like fashion, art, photography, fishing, outdoor, antique, etc…

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