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How Do Friendship And Loneliness Affect Your Brain?

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Research shows friendships can make you healthier and happier, while loneliness is a risk factor for early mortality. What biological mechanisms mediate our ability and desire to connect with others?

Though the scientific study of friendship is difficult and relatively new, it's understood that social connections are linked to positive health outcomes. 

More than one in fiveAmerican adults say they often experience loneliness, according to survey results from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Older adults are particularly at risk for the detrimental effects of involuntary social isolation. 

What determines someone's ability to develop and maintain positive social ties? Are certain demographics more likely to experience loneliness? What can help socially isolated individuals cope with loneliness or form friendships later in life? 

What are the short- and long-term physical and mental health effects of loneliness? What else does neuroscientific research tell us about how friendship and loneliness can affect the brain?

The Mind Science Foundation hosts a lecture by Dr. Michael Platt on the "Neuroscience of Friendship"  6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 12, at Pearl Stable.


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, November 12.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.