204 pages, 51 figs, 22 tabs
Recently, an interest in our understanding of well-being within the context of competition and cooperation has re-emerged within the biological and neural sciences. Given that we are social animals, our well-being is tightly linked to interactions with others. Pro-social behavior establishes and sustains human contact, contributing to well-being.
This book is about the evolution and biological importance of social contact. Social sensibility is an essential feature of our central nervous systems, and what have evolved are elaborate behavioral ways in which to sustain and maintain the physiological and endocrine systems that underlie behavioral adaptations. Writing for his fellow academics, and with chapters on evolutionary aspects, chemical messengers and social neuroendocrinology among others, Jay Schulkin explores this fascinating field of behavioral neuroscience.
'Jay Schulkin is able to stand back from the mass of detail that sometimes overwhelms the rest of us, and offers us the enjoyment and excitement of a true synthesis. In this book he discusses the fundamental ability that is an absolute requirement for biological success: adaptation. The essence of his argument is that this involves not only physical adaptation to a harsh and competitive world, but social adaptation ... Relating this to internal events in the body, particularly those that have evolved to deal with stress and its aftermath, makes this a synthesis that will intrigue and fascinate us all. Those who study social behaviour often seem separated by a chasm of incomprehension from those working on the neural and hormonal aspects of adaptation ... Schulkin has attempted to build not one, but several bridges across this chasm. To walk across them is a pleasure.' Joe Herbert, University of Cambridge
'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 that they too reproduced, thereby ensuring their genetic legacy. In this important book, Jay Schulkin rethinks the regulation of the body's internal milieu from the perspective of the social milieu and illustrates how healthy social interactions and relationships have a critical role to play in adaptation, health and well-being.' John T. Cacioppo, University of Chicago
'Jay Schulkin has a wonderful gift - the ability to extract the seminal messages in the large corpus of work relating biological processes to psychological outcomes and arranging these kernels of fact into a coherent narrative with a direction and a unifying theme.' Jerome Kagan, Harvard University
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