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Each week on Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, explore different aspects of human behavior and the brain.

How Going Out is Good for Your Brain

Christian Holmér,
While a deafening concert may not do your brain a lot of good, social interaction with other humans does.

Human beings are a social species. Our natural programming requires a certain amount of social contact with other people. 

Shared experiences are simply a fundamental component of our needs as humans. We don’t just have a need for direct interaction and verbal communication either – there's all sorts of nonverbal communicative actions we take in the presence of others that we wouldn’t do alone.

In this installment of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke take us through the psychological benefits of "going out" and mingling with our fellow humans.

When we experience something alone, that experience is different from what it would have been if it had been shared. You end up feeling closer to people when you do things together. And you see things from different vantage points, letting you better understand others and become more empathetic.

Even though there's a potential downside to the crowd – like group-think, or "diffusion of responsibility" – there's a definite evolutionary advantage to working together over being alone.

When we’re alone, we're not forced to try out other perspectives. So this weekend resist the urge to stay in and go out. Even if you’re "alone together," you’re doing your brain some good.

Rebecca McInroy is an award-winning show creator, host, and executive producer for KUT, KUTX, and KUT.ORG.
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