How Breaking Up Can Wreak Havoc on Whole-Brain Dynamics
by C. Bergland, June 2020
Romantic breakups may disrupt spatiotemporal brain dynamics, a fMRI study finds.
Anyone who’s ever gone through a traumatic breakup knows that breaking up is hard on your psychological well-being and feels like it throws your brain into a tailspin.
Now, a new fMRI brain imaging study (Martinez et al., 2020) sheds light on different ways a romantic breakup may disrupt whole-brain dynamics. These findings were published online May 26 in the journalNeuroImage: Clinical.
…The fMRI results of the study suggest that the severity of depressive symptoms someone experiences after a breakup may be associated with more significant deficits in the spatiotemporal ability of the whole brain to work in concert to integrate and process a wide range of information over time.
…The brain images from this study also suggest that reduced spatial diversity (i.e., hierarchy) and reduced temporal variability (i.e., metastability) after a breakup appear to be markers for the severity of someone’s depressive symptoms after a stressful breakup.
In general, a higher degree of depressive symptoms after a breakup was associated with less “global integration,” which means that the brain (as a whole) had a reduced capacity to regulate and integrate incoming information from widely distributed brain regions.