5/17: ISEPP: John Cacioppo: Human Nature's Social Brain

by Gene Kim on

#cacioppolecture

5/17: ISEPP: John Cacioppo: Human Nature's Social Brain
University of Chicago

  • Dr. Art Klein, PSU, Psychology and Business
  • Dr. Cacio
  • ppo: #1 authority in psychology
  • Dr. Art Klein: "Will engrs really help w/our global problems? climate chg, economic equality, overpopulation, nuclear proliferation?"
  • Dr. Cacioppo: In last 10 yrs, has combined neuroscience and social science
  • 10^14 channels for info transfer
    • 100B neurons, 10-1000 neurons
  • Heterarchical Org vs. Hierarchical
    • like express elevator: you don't need to hit every stop
  • only 3 neurons needed to pull back hand from pain
    • but forebrain can override that and prevent flinch
  • Reverse contingency task: chimp gets dish not pointed to
    • 94% error attributed to difference in candies
    • substitute w/arabic numerals, perfomrance jumped
    • symbols distance us from limbic system
    • that's why Vegas uses chips, not money: very distant from something you're loathe to lose
  • Neocortical complexity scales linearly with ecological challenge and aha, social complexity, size of tribe
  • techniques of study
    • subtractive approach: knockout mouse, knockout brain damage (from iron tamper/dynamite accident)
    • compare people who have connections vs. people who don't
  • The more isolated, the more likely to die early
    • Social epedemiologists: social control hypothesis: the nagging hypothesis: people who nag you if you have poor healthy habits
    • % of single person households
    • Factors
      • Aging population
      • Affluence, reduced intergenerational living, extended life w/disabilities, delayed marriage/smaller families
  • when kids leave high school (from small family to larger communities [sleep, eat, class size]), they feel isolated; miles from home is significant predictor of feeling of isolation
    • subjective isolation trumps objective isolation
    • Exception: do you have someone you can call to take you to healthcare when you need it
  • loneliness: "gnawing cronic disease without redeeming features: 1973: all wrong
    • it's a consequence, not a cause
  • introvert/extrovert: # of people reqd for social needs to be satisfied
  • Dr. Cacioppo: main diff between introvert & extrovert: # of people reqd for social needs to be satisfied
  • Experimental effects of social isolation in non-humans
    • Very connected people know the value of having time to themselves; social interactions are very energy demanding
    • socially isolated animals fare poorly: decr lifespan, reduced stroke survival rate, open field activity
    • Loneliness is better predictor of mortality among elderly trumps age, income, health habits
    • Social factors are a better predictor of mortality than smoking. (Astounding)
  • Cooperation and nurturing activates same response as sex, eating fatty foods, cocaine
  • Physical and social pain activates the same areas in the brain
  • Social isolation causes poor impulse control ( even in animals), accuracy of temperature
  • 3 facets of perceived isolation
    • I lack companionship, I feel left out, I feel isolated from others, I am unhappy being so withdrawn
    • Being in a bad relationship actually more emotionally toxic than loneliness
    • Studies have shown 1 thing worse than loneliness: being in bad marial relationship
  • Feelings of relationsihp connection
    • There are people I feel close to, undersand me, to whom I can talk
  • Feelings of collective connection
    • I feel in tune with people around me, part of the group
    • 9/11 caused news: people treated each other better
  • Lonely people have cognitive interference in experiment to say color of word
  • (BTW, this lecture "Human Nature's Social Brain" in ISEPP.org lecture series is just awesome)
  • Negative social - negative nonsocial; negative pictures affect lonely people more; they feel personaly jeopardized, as opposed to empathic
  • postive social - positive nonsocial: you don't feel as positive
  • absence of a safe social surround (man vs. wild)
    • humans sleep in groups;
    • in hospitals, those who felt isolated had poorer quality sleep
  • Huttterites: lowest levels of loneliness he's ever seen in the world
  • Q: how much social need can be replaced w/pets & online? A: Dogs good; Facebook, not so good
    • Cars to visit friends: more lonely; cars to drive around alone: more lonely
    • Facebook: more friends = less lonely? No
    • Facebook: the more interactions f/f: less lonely
    • The greater % of interactions are online, the lonelier u are. (Like eating celery when hungry: feel good, but u'll starve)
    • Worst causes of loneliness (w/o f/f interactions): dating sites, online gaming, social networking, chat rooms
    • Graph of correlation between loneliness vs. % online interactions
      https://p.twimg.com/AtJZHQaCQAAOpxP.jpg
    • Some Facebook users aren't lonely; but others have bad experiences, and then decide never to exert effort to go out in real world
    • Challenge is you never have to present an authentic self
    • How pathetic is it to feel like you can't present your real authentic self, which is negatively reinforcing
    • Effortful social relationships that risk rejection
    • Do volunteer service
    • Presentation of non-authentic self
    • Mitigation: when lonely, you hunger for social contact: like being eaten alive at a social cocktail party
    • Relationships need both people to get something out of it;
    • One of most effective loneliness countermeasures: do volunteer service; serving soup to those who need soup is healing
    • Why online interaction contributes to loneliness: ppl often present non-authentic self, which is negatively reinforcing
    • I.e., it's damaging when people feel like they can't present authentic self: becomes increasingly inauthentic
    • Proportion of confidants interacted with over total number of confidants vs loneliness
  • Best loneliness countermeasure: Share positive experience w/other: sporting event, vacation,.. (called Capitalization)
  • People removed from war theater within 6 months have less chance of PTSD
  • Lecturer is now working with US Army to help build/train social resilience to reduce likelihood of PTSD
  • Goal isn't to make them less senstive, but better able to heal
  • Startling anecdote: When young child has accident, having loving parent around helps (ie, support)
  • Autististics still feel loneliness; one reason, people often avoid people who avoid eye contact
  • Social contagion: framingham social network
  • "Many lonely people are billionaires. Why? Everyone wants to be their friend."
  • "Extroverts are salesmen; Introverts are inventors?"
  • Extravert have high social needs, wants lots of friends"
  • Looked at heritability vs. loneliness: 50%: lots of room for social
    • moving around as a child has a big effect