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Title: I DON’T NEED FRIENDS THEY DISAPPOINT ME: The Negative Influence of Loneliness on Parochial Empathy and Prosociality
Authors: Yoo, Seo Young
Advisors: Tamir, Diana
Department: Neuroscience
Certificate Program: Global Health and Health Policy Program
Class Year: 2022
Abstract: We are currently in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. The more our world seems connected, the more socially withdrawn we are from one another in reality. Loneliness restricts us from our human right to health as it affects our emotional, physical, mental, and social health. Vast literature covers the impacts of loneliness on physical and mental health but not so much on social health. But the existing literature suggests two conflicting perspectives to interpret the relationship between loneliness and social behaviors: the loneliness-perpetuation perspective and loneliness-reduction perspective. The loneliness-perpetuation perspective claims lonely people are discouraged to engage in social interactions due to its cognitive costs. The loneliness-reduction perspective claims lonely people seek social interactions to “self-treat” their loneliness. Because the loneliness-reduction perspective seems to pertain particularly to trauma victims, we predict that the correlational relationships between loneliness and empathy/prosocial behavior (Study 1) and loneliness and parochial empathy/prosocial behavior (Study 2) will align with the loneliness-perpetuation perspective. The ingroup for parochial empathy measures was adjusted to close family/friends in this study following the logic that most of our everyday interactions are with these close social circles. The novel negative correlation between loneliness and parochial empathy fills in a gap of the existing literature on loneliness and social behaviors. The results have implications in guiding our interactions with lonely people, especially lonely family/friends. We can even extend the implications of our research to victims of deinstitutionalization who are often isolated and looked down upon by society.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Neuroscience, 2017-2022
Global Health and Health Policy Program, 2017-2022

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