Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection

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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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User Review  - PeskyLibrary - LibraryThing

We often see loneliness as a weakness. People who are lonely are seen as being needy because they cannot function well without social interaction. However in Loneliness by John T. Cacioppo we see that ... Read full review

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User Review  - Suva - LibraryThing

Cacioppo and Patrick attack the received idea that social connection and empathy are the luxuries we annex onto our workaday existence, and instead show them as essential for human life. Through ... Read full review

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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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