Thursday, February 17, 2011

Envy = Pain

Research finds that feelings of envy activate brain areas responsible for pain processing and when we learn of bad news towards those we envy, brain areas responsible for pleasure are activated.

Participants read a story about themselves and their friends. In one scenario, subjects were told that, unlike their classmates, they failed a job interview. Reading about this classmate’s successes, financial and romantic, activated brain areas responsible for pain. Then subjects learned that something bad happened to this friend and the brain registered happiness in return. Pleasure, however, could just be the relief of no longer being envious.

That would help explain this.

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