Bullying: Why does it hurt so much?

Posted on Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bullying is an unavoidable part of reality; everyone has experienced it at some point in their life, either as a victim, a perpetrator or a witness. On Thursday, February 9, University of Ottawa professor Tracy Vaillancourt will share insights on why bullying hurts so much and what can be done to intervene and prevent it.

For decades, schoolyard bullying was viewed as a normal part of childhood. Professor Vaillancourt's talk aims to change the common view towards bullying. ‘'My hope is that people are going to stop using euphemistic labels to describe bullying. A lot of people talk about bullying as being a rite of passage, or something that makes you tougher and helps build your character,'' explains Vaillancourt.

Although this mentality has somewhat shifted due to recent tragedies, bullying continues to exist and hurt youth, sometimes so much that they take their own life or contemplate doing so as a way to stop their suffering.  Recent studies in neuroscience have shown that the pain associated with physical injury is similar to the pain associated with peer rejection (social pain), in that they both activate similar brain regions. These studies help explain why being bullied hurts so much and the possible role this pain can take in the lives of victims.

WHAT: Excellence in Education Lecture Series:Why Does Being Bullied Hurt So Much? Insights from Neuroscience by Professor Tracy Vaillancourt

WHEN: Thursday, February 9, 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Our Lady of Mount Carmel School (675 Gardenvale Road, Ottawa)

The Excellence in Education lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information on the event, contact Caroline Baron-Courcy at edueve@uOttawa.ca

In this talk, Professor Vaillancourt will argue that bullying interferes with that which is instinctually human — the quest to find a social place within the peer group and to fulfil a fundamental need to belong.

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