Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection

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W. W. Norton & Company, Aug 17, 2008 - Science - 336 pages
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A pioneering neuroscientist reveals the reasons for loneliness and what to do about it.

John T. Cacioppo’s groundbreaking research topples one of the pillars of modern medicine and psychology: the focus on the individual as the unit of inquiry. By employing brain scans, monitoring blood pressure, and analyzing immune function, he demonstrates the overpowering influence of social context—a factor so strong that it can alter DNA replication. He defines an unrecognized syndrome—chronic loneliness—brings it out of the shadow of its cousin depression, and shows how this subjective sense of social isolation uniquely disrupts our perceptions, behavior, and physiology, becoming a trap that not only reinforces isolation but can also lead to early death. He gives the lie to the Hobbesian view of human nature as a “war of all against all,” and he shows how social cooperation is, in fact, humanity’s defining characteristic. Most important, he shows how we can break the trap of isolation for our benefit both as individuals and as a society.
 

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Loneliness: human nature and the need for social connection

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Nonfiction Cacioppo, John T. & William Patrick. Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection. Norton. Aug. 2008. c.288p. illus. index. SOC SCI~ While this book's title makes the obvious ... Read full review

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Contents

Lonely in a Social World
3
Variation Regulation and an Elastic Leash
20
Losing Control
35
Selfish Genes Social Animals
52
The Universal and the Particular
73
The Wear and Tear of Loneliness
92
Sympathetic Threads
113
An Indissociable Organism
128
Conflicted by Nature
169
Conflicts in Nature
182
Three Adaptations
201
Getting It Right
221
The Power of Social Connection
247
Notes
271
Index
297
Copyright

Knowing Thyself among Others
145

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About the author (2008)

John T. Cacioppo is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and president of the Association for Psychological Science. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

William Patrick, former editor for science and medicine at Harvard University Press, is editor in chief of the Journal of Life Sciences. He lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

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