"An interesting implication of this research is that feelings of loneliness may reflect an innate emotional response to stimulus conditions over which an individual may have little or no control," the research team writes in the article, "Genetic and Environmental Contributors to Loneliness in Adults: The Netherlands Twin Register Study" published in the current issue of the journal Behavior Genetics. Psychologists had previously thought loneliness was primarily caused by shyness, poor social skills, or inability to form strong attachments with other people.Scholars are becoming increasingly interested in the role loneliness plays in health.
The researchers write that loneliness may have developed early in human evolution as a response by hunter-gathers facing conditions of undernourishment who may have decided not to share their food with their families. By surviving a famine, those early ancestors would be able to propagate during periods of plenty, the researchers theorized. In developing loneliness as an adaptation to survival, these early humans also developed dispositions toward anxiety, hostility, negativity and social avoidance, they said."