Hurt feelings? You could take a pain reliever...

C. Nathan DeWall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


THE FINDING: Daily doses of acetaminophen alleviate hurt feelings and reduce neural activity related to the pain of social rejection. THE RESEARCH: The University of Kentucky's C. Nathan DeWall asked 62 undergraduates to take 1,ooo milligrams of acetaminophen or a placebo for three weeks. Each evening they recorded how much social pain they'd felt that day. The hurt feelings of those who took acetaminophen decreased significantly over time; people who took the placebo showed no change. In a related study, functional MRIs showed that people who had taken acetaminophen also had less activity in the brain regions that respond to emotional pain. THE CHALLENGE: Aren't mental and physical pain entirely different? Can over-the-counter analgesics improve your emotional state if, say, you get fired?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-29
Number of pages2
JournalHarvard Business Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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