The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter

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The message is appealing: if you want to live longer, stay healthier, be smarter, then you should work hard at building and increasing your list of active friends. An easy task for an extrovert, challenging for the introvert. Canadian developmental psychologist Susan Pinker frames her book from the proverb describing the power of a village to influence development, health, attitude, survival, and mental outlook of the residents. Solitary confinement is a well-documented punishment and torture; social interaction is as essential to wellbeing as the fundamental nutrients of life. In this richly annotated text, the author reports on studies that appear to validate the importance of social networks and their effects on longevity, cancer survival, caregiving, and the importance of human contact for the evolving infant brain. She inspects our digital age where both youth and adults appear to converse more with gadgets rather than with humans and finds that human interaction trumps the technology. Even the programmed dating devices lose to matches made by human contact. This is an interesting book, but one may question the biased focus on the Sardinian longevity studies. While anecdotal stories are used to seam the premises, the threads that bind the face-to-face theses are frayed with dubious inferences. Still, this is an interesting look at the importance of togetherness and the direction of the science of social psychology.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher Spiegel & Grau
Publish Date 2014-Aug-26
ISBN 9781400069576 Buy this Book
Issue November 2014
Category Science & Nature


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