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Feeling Close to Someone: The Neural Correlates of Social Connection
Högskolan i Skövde, Institutionen för biovetenskap.
2019 (Engelska)Självständigt arbete på grundnivå (kandidatexamen), 15 poäng / 22,5 hpStudentuppsats (Examensarbete)
Abstract [en]

During the course of human evolution, being a member of a group has been more beneficial for survival than being alone. Food gathering, protection from predators, cooperation, and care for offspring are distributed among group members, increasing the likelihood for survival. It is as if there is an interplay between agent and environment that interprets being socially cooperative as pleasurable and being left out as painful. Studies have been dedicated to examine how our social life is one of the most important aspects of health and well-being, particularly social relationships. Since this link has been demonstrated, it would be interesting to incorporate the field of neuroscience to understand the involvement of the human brain in our social experiences, specifically the experience of social connection. The current state of neuroscience does not allow researchers to examine this kind of subjective experiences, simply because of the lack of proper tools and knowledge. Research in this field has come a long way since the early stages, and studies have indicated on significant results regarding the involved neural regions. The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and the anterior insula (AI) are active when threats to social connection is experienced. They are also active in situations were survival is threatened. An experience of social connection evokes a feeling of (social) safety, in part because it activates regions of the brain associated with physical safety, such as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC). In similar fashion, a sense of social closeness ("warmth") activates the ventral striatum (VS), which is associated with physical warmth and studies have shown that social and physical warmth share overlapping neural activity in VS. Finally, Mu-opioids have been shown to be responsible for social bonding; while using an opioid antagonist such as naltrexone, decreases the feeling of social connection. Studies in this field are few; one should take their results with caution. The field continues to grow, and the studies that have been done to date give exciting hints of the influence of social relationships on physical health and mental well-being.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
2019. , s. 39
Nyckelord [en]
social connection, social bonding, social safety, social warmth, threat, opioids
Nationell ämneskategori
Psykologi Naturvetenskap
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-17921OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-17921DiVA, id: diva2:1372870
Ämne / kurs
Kognitiv neurovetenskap
Utbildningsprogram
Psykologisk coach
Handledare
Examinatorer
Tillgänglig från: 2019-11-27 Skapad: 2019-11-25 Senast uppdaterad: 2019-11-27Bibliografiskt granskad

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