Brain releases natural painkillers during social rejection

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," goes the playground rhyme that's supposed to help children endure taunts from classmates. But a new study suggests that there's more going on inside our brains when someone snubs us – and that the brain may have its own way of easing social pain. The findings, recently published in Molecular Psychiatry by a University of Michigan Medical School team, show that the brain's natural painkiller system responds to social rejection – not just physical injury.

Kissing helps us find the right partner — and keep them

What's in a kiss? A study by Oxford University researchers suggests kissing helps us size up potential partners and, once in a relationship, may be a way of getting a partner to stick around. 'Kissing in human sexual relationships is incredibly prevalent in various forms across just about every society and culture,' says Rafael Wlodarski

Smell of sweat may alter how women are judged

The smell of stress sweat does, in fact, significantly alter how women are perceived by both males and females. Results of the study, published on October 9, 2013 in PLOS ONE, indicate that the odor from stress-related sweat specifically impacts social judgments of one's confidence, trustworthiness and competence.

Why we can’t accurately judge our friends’ behavior

There is no such thing as objectivity when it comes to your friends: According to a new study, people evaluate their friends' behavior more positively than do strangers, regardless of actual performance on a series of tasks.

Weighed down by guilt: Research shows it’s more than a metaphor

Ever feel the weight of guilt? Lots of people say they do. They're "carrying guilt" or "weighed down by guilt." Are these just expressions, or is there something more to these metaphors? Princeton researcher Martin Day and Ramona Bobocel, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo, recently published the results of a series of studies that begin to offer answers to that question. There's evidence that the emotional experience of guilt can be grounded in subjective bodily sensation.

A slow, loving, ‘affective’ touch may be key to a healthy sense of self

A loving touch, characterized by a slow caress or stroke - often an instinctive gesture from a mother to a child or between partners in romantic relationships – may increase the brain's ability to construct a sense of body ownership and, in turn, play a part in creating and sustaining a healthy sense of self.