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.


Explore further

Researchers discover neurological link to loneliness

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
Journal information: Cognition & Emotion

Provided by Taylor & Francis
Citation: Why it's good to be lonely this Valentine's Day (2014, February 13) retrieved 26 June 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-02-good-lonely-valentine-day.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more