Giving and Receiving Care: Neurobiological Mechanisms of Social Connection

Apr 14, 2023 11:30 am


Tristen Inagaki, Ph.D.
Psychology Dept., San Diego State University


Psych East, Rm 3834


Abstract: Social connection—the affectively pleasant experience of being close to and bonded with others—is necessary for normal function, health, and well-being throughout life. Still, understanding of social connection is incomplete in important ways.  First, knowledge about receiving care comes largely from studies on interactions during threatening, stressful times. Missing is an understanding of the arguably more frequent part of human experience when people connect with one another in the absence of threatening events.  Second, there is an implicit assumption that the benefits of social connection come from care that is received. However, it is also possible that giving to others contributes to social and physical well-being in meaningful ways. In the current talk, I highlight a select set of studies that focus on how giving and receiving care to our closest loved ones is good for our relationships and health. Emphasis is placed on mind-body influences using neuroimaging, pharmacology, and psychophysiological techniques to further understanding of why connecting with others is a basic need.



Research Area

Social Psychology