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Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection
     

Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection

4.3 9
by John T. Cacioppo, William Patrick, Dick Hill (Narrated by)
 

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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.

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Top-notch science writing: stimulating and useful information conveyed in accessible prose." —Kirkus Starred Review
Publishers Weekly

Eleanor Rigby might have been in worse shape than the Beatles imagined: not only lonely but angry, depressed and in ill health. University of Chicago research psychologist Cacioppo shows in studies that loneliness can be harmful to our overall well-being. Loneliness, he says, impairs the ability to feel trust and affection, and people who lack emotional intimacy are less able to exercise good judgment in socially ambiguous situations; this makes them more vulnerable to bullying as children and exploitation by "unscrupulous salespeople" in old age. But Cacioppo and Patrick (editor of the Journal of Life Sciences) want primarily to apply evolutionary psychology to explain how our brains have become hard-wired to have regular contact with others to aid survival. So intense is the need to connect, say the authors, that isolated individuals sometimes form "parasocial relations" with pets or TV characters. The authorsa' advice for dealing with loneliness-psychotherapy, positive thinking, random acts of kindness-are overly general, but this isna't a self-help book. It does present a solid scientific look at the physical and emotional impact of loneliness. 12 illus. (Aug. 25)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Neuroscientist Cacioppo (psychology, Univ. of Chicago) and science writer Patrick present a solid scientific analysis of the physical and emotional impact of loneliness on the human body, looking to variations in brain scans, blood pressure, and immune function to demonstrate the overpowering influence and broader social context of this factor they find strong enough to alter DNA replication. Three-time Audie® Award winner Dick Hill's (www.dickhill.com) impressive, steady narration helps maintain interest in this esoteric, highly specialized, research-based text, which may appeal more to established and student psychiatrists and psychologists than to the lay reader. Recommended mainly for university libraries supporting these fields. [Audio clip available through www.tantor.com.-Ed.]
—Dale Farris

Kirkus Reviews
An absorbing account of our genetically programmed need for each other's company. Cacioppo (Psychology/Univ. of Chicago), president of the Association for Psychological Science, and Patrick, editor in chief of the Journal of Life Sciences, offer a serious but enjoyable study of loneliness and its surprisingly harmful consequences. For millennia, primitive hominids roamed the African savannah in bands that were essential for fending off large carnivores. Few isolated individuals survived long enough to pass on their genes, so our DNA promotes sociability for sound evolutionary reasons. Long before civilization and the death penalty, the worst punishment a criminal could expect was ostracism. "Loner" is a word often seen in articles on serial killers. The authors rock no boats by explaining that personal happiness as well as material success requires the ability to manage the give-and-take of human interaction. They deliver some jolts describing what happens in the absence of social connections. High-tech research and population studies prove that lonely people suffer more than emotional stress. They fall ill more quickly, recover slowly and live shorter lives. While traditional culprits-lack of social support and unhealthy habits-contribute, it's clear that isolation produces disease by impairing immunity, slowing wound repair and accelerating the aging process. Research subjects persuaded that they are unpopular show impaired judgment and a slower ability to solve problems. Those looking for cheerful advice on winning friends, attracting lovers and forging alliances with colleagues should move on to the self-help section of their bookstores, but they should also read Cacioppo andPatrick's work. It provides convincing evidence that lonely people shoot themselves in the foot by harboring irrational fears of those whose friendship they seek. Top-notch science writing: stimulating and useful information conveyed in accessible prose. Agent: Lisa Adams/The Garamond Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400138128
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
08/01/2008
Edition description:
Unabridged Library Edition
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Top-notch science writing: stimulating and useful information conveyed in accessible prose." —-Kirkus Starred Review

Meet the Author

William Patrick is the editor in chief of the Journal of Life Sciences.

Reader of over four hundred audiobooks, Dick Hill has won three coveted Audie Awards and been nominated numerous times. He is also the recipient of several AudioFile Earphones Awards. AudioFile includes Dick on their prestigious list of Golden Voices.

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Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Mr_Croup More than 1 year ago
This is a remarkable book, which I read twice the week I bought it. It offers insights on the human condition which are dead on. As I read this, I felt as though the authors had been watching my life and they perfectly described how life has felt for me.

I read this book in conjunction with _The 3rd Chimpanzee_ and _The Nature of Paleolithic Art_. This book is very meaningful when viewed in an anthropological, pre-historic context. Our current way of life is so ingrained that to truly appreciate this book's message, you need to step back and see the world you live in as a little alien. I found that by thinking of "cave men", my perspective altered a little and I got more from this fine book than I might have otherwise.

I loved this book. However, I would recommend this book to only those who are able to read academic and dry writing.
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