Like all monkeys and apes, humans are intensely social. Close relationships, whether family or friend, are our way of buffering ourselves against the stresses that life puts us under.
In fact, loneliness has turned out to be the biggest killer. It turns out that friendships have a bigger effect on our quality of life as well as our ability to resist and recover from illness than almost anything conventional medicine can throw at us.
Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford will explore the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms involved in friendships and how they produce these remarkable effects as Nature’s ‘little helper.
Image credit: Created by Symbolon from Noun Project
About the speaker
Robin Dunbar is Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Oxford, an Emeritus Fellow of Magdalen College, and an elected Fellow of the British Academy. His principal research interests focus on the evolution of sociality (with particular reference to primates and humans). He is best known for the social brain hypothesis, the gossip theory of language evolution and Dunbar’s Number (the limit on the number of relationships that we can manage). His popular science books include Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language, The Human Story, How Many Friends Does One Person Need?, The Science of Love and Betrayal, Human Evolution, and Evolution: What Everyone Needs to Know.
You can buy copies of many of our speakers’ books from Fox Lane Books, a local independent bookseller and Festival partner. In some cases, author signed bookplates are available too.