247: Lydia Denworth | How Life’s Fundamental Bond Develops And Matters For Well-Being In “Friendship”

Episode 247 is on the scene with science journal Lydia Denworth, author of Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond. It covers the basis behind why we as people become friends, and how it can be so powerful. Some of the greatest things done by people came from strong friendships.

Lydia Denworth has contributed to Scientific American, and writes the ‘Brain Waves’ blog for Psychology Today. Her work is regularly across such publications as Scientific American Mind, Parents, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg News. Regarding Friendship, Dr. Nicholas Christakis of episode 232 said “If you care about what really matters in life, read this fantastic natural history of human friendship.”

Show notes:

  • what led to Lydia getting into the field of science journalism
  • analyzing and discussing the concept of friendship
  • how science benefits from reaching out to other work in related fields
  • why friendship is the piece of the relationship story that was left out for a long time
  • where long-running research in field sites is done on animals like macaques to see their social patterns
  • how neuroscientists can see differences in brain activity in early years of a person’s life, representing rapid growth/adjustment
  • how empathy and theory-of-mind is developed at a certain age range
  • what macaques do to subjugate other ones, and how stress responses are a part of the social win/loss paradigm
  • the way that public speaking or math can be used to examine stress level
  • what loneliness represents about the person in that position, regarding their mental health
  • the lunch time that exists in middle school, and what it represents for socialization and internal battles
  • some of the illumination on women in science in the book, as well as one way that expanded a direction of research
  • the types of friendships that are more valuable in the long-term, and how many close friends the average person has
  • how there needs to be back-and-forth in a successful long-term friendship
  • what face-to-face interaction means for friendship and its growth

Having Lydia on the show was a nice opportunity to learn about friendship and its value. You can check out her TED Talk “The Science of Friendship”, her home page and updates, or look at Friendship on Amazon.