It is the same part which detects real physical pain – perhaps explaining why feeling envious of your lover’s philandering ways hurts so much.
‘It’s interesting the part of the brain which detects physical pain is also associated with mental pain,’ said Hidehiko Takahashi, who led the research.
‘Assessing these feelings of jealousy will possibly be helpful in mental care such as counselling.’
The spot which makes people delight in others’ misfortune – called schadenfreude – was also located by the team.
In the experiments, 19 students were asked to talk of a more successful rival while having MRI scans, which monitor brain activity.
A part of their frontal lobe became more active when the students felt jealous of their rivals, the Japanese study showed.
They then read a story in which the subject of their envy suffered a series of misfortunes, including food poisoning.
Their scan data showed the mishaps sparked greater activity in the ‘reward reaction’ part of the brain, which normally lights up when receiving social and financial fortune. ‘We now have a better understanding of the mechanism at work when people take pleasure in another’s misfortune,’ added Mr Takahashi.
Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2009/02/16/jealousy-spot-on-the-brain-identified-by-scientists-460744/#ixzz4HhqE9oOJ