Why it's good to be lonely this Valentine's Day

Whilst it may seem that there are no positives to draw from feeling lonely, several authors have shown that this is not the case.

In the article 'Evolutionary mechanisms for loneliness', from the journal Cognition & Emotion, authors John T. Cacioppo, Stephanie Cacioppo & Dorret I. Boomsma explore how people in 'happy' relationships negatively view the lonely but suggest that loneliness in fact promotes an individual's genetic survival.

The authors report that the 'lonely' are viewed more negatively in terms of their psychosocial functioning and attractiveness. In a social environment non-lonely people form a negative impression towards lonely people, which then affects their behaviour and reinforces the lonely individual's perceived isolated existence. Furthermore, rated opposite-gender partners who they expected to be lonely as less sociable, and behaved towards them in a less sociable manner than they did toward partners they expected not to be-lonely.

But despite the negativity towards lonely people, there is good news for those feeling glum this Valentine's Day. Although it may feel like loneliness has no redeeming features, it promotes behavior change to increase the likelihood of the survival of one's genes.

Therefore is not so much a dysfunctional reaction as it is about promoting an individual's genetic legacy.

More information: Evolutionary mechanisms for loneliness. John T. Cacioppo, Stephanie Cacioppo & Dorret I. Boomsma. Cognition & Emotion, Volume 28, Issue 1, 2014. DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2013.837379

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Self-compassion key to positive body image and coping

19 hours ago

Women who accept and tolerate their imperfections appear to have a more positive body image despite their body mass index (BMI) and are better able to handle personal disappointments and setbacks in their daily lives.

Experiences trump things, even before purchase

Sep 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—People derive value from the anticipation of purchasing something, and this anticipation tends to be greater for an experiential purchase than for a material purchase, according to a study published ...

User comments