Psychotherapy Services in South West London

Loneliness is a big killer

A recent meta-analysis of 148 studies demonstrated that loneliness is a big killer, comparable with smoking and  alcohol consumption, and a greater risk factor than obesity and physical activity (Holt-Lunstad et al, 2010). Humans need other humans to flourish and survive. Professor Bruce Hood wrote how the human brain has selected characteristics for living together. The human brain has shrunk considerably in size over the last 20,000 years, a fact that may seem counter to evolutionary assumptions that technological advances would lead to an increase in its size. However, Hood showed that a smaller brain is a product of domestication the selection of characteristics that mean we can live harmoniously in groups. For example, Dmtir Belyaev attempted to domesticate the Siberian silver fox in the 1950s. The behaviour between the two groups was obvious: the wild foxes snarled and barked at the handler, while the domesticated foxes approached and appeared affectionate. He shows that the brains of domesticated animals were 10-15% smaller than wild animals.

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