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People Who are Misunderstood are More Sensitive to Pain

Update Date: Jan 06, 2013 05:10 AM EST

A new study suggests that people who think they are constantly misunderstood could be more sensitive to pain.

According to scientists from America, it may be the same region of the brain involved in processing physical and social pain that affects each other.

For the study, researchers from the University of Virginia examined whether feeling misunderstood could cause pain. For this, they asked participants to describe how they saw themselves.

Later, the participants were asked to choose among 10 personality traits, two that described them the best and two that described them the least.

Then, the participants were asked to talk to a stranger informally and later asked to describe how they felt about the stranger and were also asked to read the stranger's feedback about them.

While a few participants thought that the stranger saw them like how they thought of themselves, others thought that the stranger had completely misunderstood them.

Later, the researchers measured the pain tolerance in the participants by asking them to dip their hand in a bucket of ice water for as long as they could tolerate it.

The findings revealed that participants who thought they were misunderstood could bear the pain for a shorter period of time than others.

Those who felt understood by the stranger apparently could bear the pain longer.

The researchers believe that the feeling of being misunderstood could be similar to the feeling of being threatened, which could exaggerate people's perceptions of feelings like pain.

"The interaction with a stranger who misunderstood him or her could be like an interaction with a threatening person," the researchers wrote, according to Mail Online.

"To the extent that the state of vigilance requires energy...and to the extent that caloric resources available affects one's perception, felt misunderstanding could give rise to an exaggerated perception of the icy water, hill, and distance," they concluded.

The study was published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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