Social Rejection Can Drop Heart Rate

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Oct. 4 (UPI) — Being rejected by another person not only causes emotional and physical pain, it slows the rejected person’s heart rate, researchers in the Netherlands say.

Bregtje Gunther Moor, Eveline A. Crone and Maurits W. van der Molen of the University of Amsterdam and Leiden University in the Netherlands asked study volunteers to send the researchers a photograph of themselves for what they were told was a study on first impressions.


The study subjects were told the other students would look at the photo to decide whether they liked the volunteer, but this was a cover story. A few weeks later, each study subject came to the laboratory and had wires placed on their chest for an electrocardiogram. They were told to look at a series of unfamiliar faces and guess whether the student from another university liked them. They were then told whether the person “liked” them or not, but this was merely a computer-generated response.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, says the participant’s heart rate fell in anticipation of the person’s supposed opinion of them. Heart rate dropped more after being told the other student didn’t like them and was slower to resume its usual rate.

The heart rate slowed more in people who expected the other person would like them, the researchers add.

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