Belongingness: We're Hard-Wired By Nature To Bond
May 09, 2012
Why are people so strongly motivated to have relationships? Oddly, the words "sex" and "pleasure" are never mentioned in The Need to Belong – Part of What Makes Us Human. Instead, this online overview of a recent landmark psychology paper concentrates on a range of intriguing human behaviors: The need to form (and stay loyal to) social bonds. The merging of one's own identity with that of loved ones. The emotional highs and lows associated with a loved one's presence or absence. And the evolutionary advantages of developing these deep and abiding feelings:
"People throughout the world are born with the ability and motivation to form close relationships, and this universal tendency is adaptive. Children who form close emotional attachments to their parents are less likely to wander off, get picked off by a predator, or fall victim to some other natural danger. Thus, relationships protect us from harm when we are young and vulnerable."
It's really heartening to now know that we're hard-wired by nature to be such emotional pack animals. There's even evidence that our natural bonding mechanism can have positive effects on our health and boost our immune system. Now, that's the kind of social Darwinism that we can get behind. So, what are you waiting for, go out and spread the love. It's for the sake of all mankind after all. Make a new friend, share a hug, and getting back to the topic of "sex" and "pleasure", what better way to bond with your special someone?
You can read the hyperlink-riddled overview here. It's a great way to introduce yourself to the Science of Relationships, a psychology-oriented site that touts itself as "your #1 source for expert news, information, and advice about relationships." (Something we'd never claim about ourselves, perhaps because -- for our parents' sakes -- we still cultivate a bit of modesty.)
Image source: Shutterstock-jannoon028