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Spurned lovers' brains reflect risk evaluation, pain

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11:26am, November 28, 2005

From Washington, D.C., at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience

Relationships too often end with feelings of hurt, longing, and craving. A new study suggests that scientists can see those emotions reflected in brain images of lovers who were recently spurned.

Three years ago, Lucy Brown of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and her colleagues identified brain areas that seem to be active when someone is happily in love. In the new study, the researchers recruited 17 women and men who were unhappy about being recently dumped by a partner.

The team scanned the brains of the volunteers as each one viewed a picture of his or her former sweetheart and a photo of an emotionally neutral acquaintance. To cleanse their brains of strong emotions between photos, the subjects counted backward in increments of seven.

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