In a study conducted in the lab as well as during the COVID-19 lockdowns, participants reported higher levels of tiredness after eight hours of social isolation. The results suggest that low energy may be a basic human response to a lack of social contact. The study conducted at the University of Vienna and published in Psychological Science also showed that this response was affected by social personality traits of the participants.
If we do not eat for an extended period, a series of biological processes ensue that create a craving sensation we recognize as hunger. As a social species, we also need other people to survive. Evidence shows that a lack of social contact induces a craving response in our brains comparable to hunger, which motivates us to reconnect. The related “social homeostasis” hypothesis suggests that there is a dedicated homeostatic system that autonomously regulates our need for social contact. However, we know very little about the psychological responses to social isolation. Moreover, we do not know how these findings translate to the social isolation we experience in our daily lives, including the unique context of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
2 responses to “Tired of being alone: How social isolation impacts on our energy”
Well I never! That makes sense. I have lots of social life but I do live alone: I think that’s why my dreams always feature heaps of other people.
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Thanks for sharing, Rachel.