John Cacioppo, PhD, Tiffany & Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor; Director, Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience, The University of Chicago Website | Publications | @J_Cacioppo
Abstract: Social species, by definition, form organizations that extend beyond the individual. These structures evolved hand in hand with behavioral, neural, hormonal, cellular, and genetic mechanisms to support them because the consequent social behaviors helped these organisms survive, reproduce, and care for offspring sufficiently long thatthey too reproduced. Social isolation represents a lens through which to investigate these behavioral, neural, hormonal, cellular, and genetic mechanisms. Evidence from human and nonhuman animal studies indicates that isolation heightens sensitivity to social threats (predator evasion) and motivates the renewal of social connections. The effects of perceived isolation in humans share much in common with the effects of experimental manipulations of isolation in nonhuman social species: increased tonic sympathetic tonus and HPA activation, and decreased inflammatory control, immunity, sleep salubrity, and expression of genes regulating glucocorticoid responses. Together, these effects contribute to higher rates of morbidity and mortality in older adults.
Bio: John T. Cacioppo, PhD, is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. He also is the PI of the Chicago Health, Aging, and Social Relations Study (CHASRS), a population-based, longitudinal study he began in 2001 to determine the causes and consequences of loneliness across the adult lifespan. He is the author of more than 400 scientific articles and 20 books. Cacioppo currently is the President of the International Society for Social Neuroscience; the Past-Chair of the Psychology Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the Chair of the Board of Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences at the US National Research Council; a member of the Council for the National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review; and a member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Division. Among the awards he has received are the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychology, a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging/National Institutes of Health, the Scientific Impact Award from the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, the Theoretical Innovation Prize from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Bard College and from the University of Birmingham.