Het geheim voor een langer leven is misschien wel je sociale leven

Het Italiaanse eiland Sardinië heeft meer dan zes keer zo veel 100-jarigen als het vasteland van Europa en tien keer zo veel als Noord-Amerika. Hoe komt dat? Volgens psycholoog Susan Pinker is het niet een aantal uren zon of een glutenvrije dieet die de eilandbewoners gezond houdt. Nee, dit gaat over warme persoonlijke en sociale relaties. In deze lezing leg Pinker uit wat er nodig is om ouder te worden dan 100 jaar.

Susan Pinker Ontwikkelingspsycholoog
Susan Pinker onthult hoe warme persoonlijke interacties niet alleen nodig zijn voor menselijk geluk, maar ook sleutels zijn tot gezondheid en een langer leven.


David Snowdon tracked almost 700 Wisconsin nuns from the order of The School Sisters of Notre Dame since the mid 1980s. Armed with information about their family backgrounds, education, relationships, writing skills, and ultimately, their autopsied brains, Snowdon tells an unforgettable story–filled with epiphanies–about how to live a meaningful and connected life.
John Cacioppo and William Patrick
Norton, 2008
Social neuroscientist John Cacioppo, along with writer William Patrick, do a masterful job in, in illustrating how loneliness impairs our ability to learn and make decisions, and how social isolation leaves a damaging biological footprint on every cell of our bodies.
This book tells a compelling story about the lifelong friendships of 11 women, who sustain their bonds across the distances that divide them, divorce, illness, and all the inconceivable obstacles life throws their way. In an era when people conflate time with friends with hours spent on Facebook with “friends,” we get accounts of how women can use social media to enhance their relationships, not replace them.
One hot August day just weeks before my book was published, Marc and I were in steamy Washington DC for a live NPR interview, which is where we learned that our books had a common theme: how weak social bonds are as critical as our tight relationships in preserving healthy individuals and a healthy society. Marc’s book makes a powerful case that without conversations and relationships with people from different backgrounds and political leanings, we can’t function as a civil society.
Nicholas Christakis and John Fowler
Little, Brown, 2009
I could not have made the case for the transformative effect of face-to-face interaction without the empirical work of these two research powerhouses. Any one serious about learning the mechanisms behind social contagion should read this book.


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

Susan Pinker
Penguin Random House (2015)

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




“Men in rich countries are twice as likely to die as women are at any age.”

Global, regional, and national age-sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990-2013,” The Lancet, 2015


“There is one place in the world where men live as long as women”

Identification of a geographic area characterized by extreme longevity in the Sardinia island: the AKEA study“, Michel Poulain, Giovanni Pes, et al., Experimental Gerontology

The Longevity Puzzle,” Ideas with Paul Kennedy

Sardinia’s Mysterious Male Methuselahs,” Robert Koenig, Science


“Social isolation is the public health risk of our time.”

Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality,” Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2015

So Lonely I Could Die,” Julianne Holt-Lunstad, American Psychological Association

Social isolation,” J. Cacioppo, L. C. Hawkely, et al, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2011

How Loneliness Begets Loneliness,” Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, 2017


“A third of the population says they have two or fewer people to lean on.”

“Small networks and high isolation? A reexamination of American Discussion Networks,” M.E. Brashears, Social Networks, 2011

“Social isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades,” M. McPherson, L. Smith-Lovin, and M.E. Brashears, American Sociological Review, 2006


“I wondered: so is that what it takes to live to be 100 or beyond, thinking positively?”

The Longevity Project: Surprising Dicoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight Decade Study, Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, Plume, 2012

“And I quickly discovered by being there that in the blue zone, as people age, and indeed across their lifespans, they’re always surrounded by extended family, by friends, by neighbors, the priest, the barkeeper, the grocer.”

Searching for longevity determinants: Following survival of newborns in an inland village in Sardinia, Luisa Salaris, Presses Universitaires de Louvain, 2009


“And of the people left standing, what reduced their chances of dying the most?”

Social relationships and mortality risk: A meta-analytic reveiw,” Holt-Lunstad, Julianne, Smith, Timothy R., and Layton, Bradley J, PLOS Medicine, 2010. 

Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality,” Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2015


“So simply making eye contact with somebody, shaking hands, giving somebody a high-five is enough to release oxytocin, which increases your level of trust and it lowers your cortisol levels.”

Tactile communication, cooperation, and performance: An ethological study of the NBA,” M. Kraus, C. Huang and D. Keltner, Emotion, 2010

Oxytocin protects agains negative behavioral and autonomic consequenes of long-term social isolation,” Grippo, Agela, et al., Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2009

Oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is related to psychological resources,” Saphire-Bernstein, S., Way, B.M., Kim, H.S., Sherman, D.K., & Taylor, S.E., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011

The neuropeptide oxytocin regulates parochial altruism in intergroup conflict among humans,” CKW De Dreu et al., Science, 2010

The chemical that fosters team loyalty, Susan Pinker, The Globe and Mail, 2011

The neuropeptide oxytocin regulates parochial altruism in intergroup conflict among humans,” CKW De Dreu et al., Science, 2010

Oxytocin increases trust in humans,”
Michael Kosfeld et al., Nature, 2005


“Elizabeth Redcay, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland, tried to map the difference between what goes on in our brains when we interact in person versus when we’re watching something that’s static.”

Live face-to-face interaction during fMRI: a new tool for social cognitive neuroscience,” Elizabeth Redcay et al., Neuroimage, 2010

Interaction matters: A perceived social partner alters the neural processing of human speech,” Elizabeth Redcay and Katherine Rice, Neuroimage, 2016

Perceived live interaction modulates the developing social brain,” Katherine Rice, Dustin Moraczewski and Elizabeth Redcay, Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci, 2016


“Now, these richer brain signatures might be why recruiters from Fortune 500 companies evaluating candidates thought that the candidates were smarter when they heard their voices compared to when they just read their pitches in a text, for example, or an email or a letter.”

The Sound of Intellect Speech Reveals a Thoughtful Mind, Increasing a Job Candidate’s Appeal,” Juliana Schroeder, Nicholas Epley, Psychological Science, 2015


“Anthropologist Joan Silk’s work shows that female baboons who have a core of female friends show lower levels of stress via their cortisol levels, they live longer and they have more surviving offspring.”

Strong and Consistent Social Bonds Enhance the Longevity of Female Baboons,” Joan B. Silk et al., Current Biology, 2010


“The power of such face-to-face contact is really why there are the lowest rates of dementia among people who are socially engaged.”

An active and socially integrated lifestyle in late life might protect against dementia,” Fratiglioni L, Paillard-Borg S, Winblad B, Lancet Neurol, 2004


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