The Neurobiology of Social Bonds and Affiliation

Miranda M. Lim and Larry J. Young

in The Development of Social Engagement

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195168716
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847853 | DOI:

Series: Series in Affective Science

The Neurobiology of Social Bonds and Affiliation

Show Summary Details


There has been limited knowledge of the neurobiology of social attachment and the cognitive processes involved, despite the fact that social relationship is a human trait that is given importance across cultures. This chapter examines social bonding between adults, such as romantic attachment between lovers, using various animal models that all feature selective, long-lasting pair-bond formation and a clear onset of the formation of social bonds, and which allow identification and manipulation of factors that either prevent or facilitate bond formation in the laboratory. Discussions suggest that the neurobiology underlying pair bonding could involve the same pathways required by other forms of motivation, like those in behavioural paradigms of conditioned reinforcement. Social bonding is seen as enabling positive affect in children and socially acceptable adult behaviours.

Keywords: neurobiology; social attachment; cognitive processes; social relationships; social bonding; pair-bond formation

Chapter.  10997 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuropsychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.