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Understanding the science of human connection during a time of intense polarization

Author Geoff Cohen is shown in this undated photo.
Courtesy of Nancy Rothstein
Author Geoff Cohen is shown in this undated photo.

A new book by Stanford psychology Professor Geoffrey Cohen examines how human belonging plays a role in mental and physical health, and how it can help lead to a society based on inclusiveness and human connection.

"Belonging: The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides" explores the importance of human connectedness during an era of intense polarization and isolation for many, something the author refers to as a "crisis of belonging."

"Belonging is a core human need that we've evolved to be exquisitely attuned to," Cohen said. "One of the most important things for our survival as a species was working together to solve common problems."


Cohen spoke with KPBS Midday Edition about how simple acts of respect and politeness can have significant impacts on feelings of belonging. He also notes how a lack of connectedness can have equally negative results.

"Research suggests that when people feel disconnected, when they don't have some port in the shore, they become vulnerable to extremist propaganda and hate," Cohen said.