Contact with other humans isn’t just psychologically beneficial: it also provides us with evolutionary advantages. Historically, it was easier to find food and shelter as a group than it was alone, and so an instinct to seek comfort in groups has been deeply ingrained. When we’re deprived of this contact, we often become lonely, distressed and miserable.
Now, a team of MIT neuroscientists has identified the region of the brain that represents these feelings of loneliness — the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN). The DRN, near the back of the brain, hosts a cluster of cells that the team say is responsible for generating increased sociability after periods of isolation. Original Article »