A group of scientists used fMRI scans to study the brains of people dealing with being rejected, and compared them to the brains of people experiencing physical pain. They found that the exact same regions of the brain are involved in processing both experiences. For humans, social rejection is tantamount to literal injury.
And this helps explain why the psychological torture of human beings – their total isolation, threats to their families, mock executions and forced nudity is no less serious than the comic book variety. Which renders the role of psychologists in the Bush torture program all the more despicable.