Naomi Eisenberger, Ph.D.
Work Phone Number:
4444 Franz Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology
Why is it that our social relationships have such a profound impact on our emotional and physical well-being? Why does feeling connected to those we love feel so good, whereas feeling estranged from them cause so much pain? In my laboratory, we use behavioral, physiological, and neuroimaging techniques to understand how our need for social connection has left its mark on our minds, brains, and bodies. The following are some of the topics that we are currently investigating:
The Neural Basis of Social Rejection:
When people feel rejected or left out, they often describe their feelings with physical pain words, complaining of ?hurt feelings? or ?broken hearts.? Our research has shown that feeling socially excluded activates some of the same neural regions that are activated in response to physical pain, suggesting that social rejection may indeed be ?painful.? To follow up on this research, we are currently examining the genetic determinants of rejection sensitivity as well as whether the fear of rejection relies on different neural circuitry than the experience of it.
The Neural Basis of Social Connection:
We all know the feeling that we have when we feel truly connected to someone else. However, we know very little about the neural circuitry that underlies this feeling or the physiological processes that accompany it. We are currently investigating the neural and physiological substrates associated with feeling ?social warmth,? the positive, contented experiential state associated with being in the company of close others.
Social Support and Health:
Over the past several decades, researchers have repeatedly shown that having social support is beneficial for physical health whereas not having it increases the risk of morbidity and mortality. Although social support is a robust predictor of physical health, comparable to other risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure, little is known about how social support influences health. In our lab, we use neuroimaging techniques to examine the neural processes that translate perceptions of social support or a lack thereof into the health outcomes that follow.
Muscatell Keely A, Dedovic Katarina, Slavich George M, Jarcho Michael R, Breen Elizabeth C, Bower Julienne E, Irwin Michael R, Eisenberger Naomi I
Greater amygdala activity and dorsomedial prefrontal-amygdala coupling
are associated with enhanced inflammatory responses to stress
Brain, behavior, and immunity,
Inagaki Tristen K, Muscatell Keely A, Irwin Michael R, Moieni Mona, Dutcher Janine M, Jevtic Ivana, Breen Elizabeth C, Eisenberger Naomi I
The role of the ventral striatum in inflammatory-induced approach
toward support figures
Brain, behavior, and immunity,
Tabak Benjamin A, Meyer Meghan L, Castle Elizabeth, Dutcher Janine M, Irwin Michael R, Han Jung H, Lieberman Matthew D, Eisenberger Naomi I
Vasopressin, but not oxytocin, increases empathic concern among
individuals who received higher levels of paternal warmth: A
randomized controlled trial
Dewall C Nathan, Macdonald Geoff, Webster Gregory D, Masten Carrie L, Baumeister Roy F, Powell Caitlin, Combs David, Schurtz David R, Stillman Tyler F, Tice Dianne M, Eisenberger Naomi I
Acetaminophen reduces social pain: behavioral and neural evidence