Biological Allies

When I wrote an essay in the Science section of the New York Times on how we are connected to each other physiologically, and so can be biological allies for loved ones in distress, it became the “most e-mailed” article in the Times that day. The idea that social neuroscience sees people as connected physiologically strikes a chord – we all sense it. The implications for emotional suffering – and perhaps for disease itself – could be profound.

My friend George Kohlreiser, who teaches leadership at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, called my attention to a remarkable interview with Dr. James Lynch, one of the first scientists to study the profound impact on the cardiovascular system of our relationships. His work is an early precursor to my own, most recently in Part V of Social Intelligence, which reviews how relationships matter for health, for better or worse – and how our loved ones can be biological allies. An excellent interview of Lynch can be found at:

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