Mind, Body, Cultural Evolution Lab

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Why do we seek pain?

The avoidance of pain is one of the most central evolutionary principles, yet, humans routinely engage in social activities that involve suffering, pain and potential injury. Pain researchers have focused on the negative aspects of pain experiences (e.g., chronic pain), but we do not know much about why people voluntarily seek out pain and what kinds of benefits and costs such experiences may have for individuals and groups. We study to what extent and through what mechanisms pain experiences may have positive outcomes for individuals and groups, using a multi-method design combining longitudinal field studies and laboratory experiments.