The Pain of Social Exclusion

Physical pain brain circuits activated by ‘social pain’

How_Brain_Processes_PainThe distress caused by social stimuli (e.g., losing a friend, experiencing an injustice or more in general when a social bond is threatened) activates brain circuits related to physical pain: as observed in a study conducted by SISSA, this also applies when we experience this type of pain vicariously as an empathic response, when we see somebody else experiencing it.

Jesus’ immediate empathy for the Samaritan woman he met at the well at mid-day (when nobody draws water from the well) was one such illustration of divine sensitivity. She was socially excluded as a result of her racial, societal, and gender differences.

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