ADVERTISEMENT
See Inside June/July 2006

The Jilted Brain

Most of us know how terrible it feels to be in the throes of a breakup. Now scientists know what it looks like, too. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University, and several neuroscience colleagues found some interesting correlations after scanning the brains of 10 women and five men who were still heartsick over losing a lover.

The investigators positioned each jilted subject in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner. When they asked the volunteers to look at a photograph of their former lover and at a neutral picture, they found that the same areas at play in new love — for example, the nucleus accumbens that governs reward — were still active when the forlorn looked at their lost love. But new areas were also activated, including those that regulate obsessive-compulsive thoughts and anger, suggesting a torrent of mixed emotions.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content


It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on nature.com.
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Give a Gift &
Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $9.99

Subscribe Now! >

X

Email this Article

X