What Are Friends For?
November 14, 2012
Joan Silk has found that while many animals live in groups, humans and other primates are unusual because individuals establish close and lasting social bonds within their groups and the capacity and motivation to establish and nurture such close relationships have been significant factors in the evolution of primates over millions of years. Such bonds are particularly pronounced in female baboons, and data derived from long-term studies suggest that social bonds help females cope more effectively with the stresses of everyday life. Additionally, these findings closely parallel evidence that social ties have positive effects on physical and mental health in humans and that the quality of the bonds are more important than the number. Students were encouraged to bring a friend (or two) and came to discuss the significance and benefits of close social relationships!