While being social might mean surfing social media, meeting after school for some Starbucks, or the constant constant chatting, being severely antisocial for many means awkwardly navigating the humane need to be social and staying holed up in a room for hours without a word to another human being. Antisocial is defined as not wanting the company of our fellow humans, the exact opposite of being social, which is wanting the company of others. But not every case of being antisocial is severe; staying home alone for one day or two is mild compared to a person who only resurfaces in society once every year. Really, with school, work, and other priorities, most people are always surrounded by others. Nonetheless, does being severely antisocial affect the human body?
Designed for Socializing
The answer to that question would appear to be yes. In fact, the human body is actually wired for social interactions, including the most important organ of them all—the brain. Many different components make up this organ, including an area called the neocortex. The neocortex is the largest part of the cerebral hemisphere, made up of six layers, two to three millimeters thick, and containing between 10 to 14 billion neurons (Swenson). The neocortex is a commonality between mammals, which means many mammals throughout the animal kingdom have them in their brains. This part of the brain is used for functions of higher order, like conscious thought and the ability to analyze and comprehend the feelings or intentions of others. Also, it is used for language in humans, and is much larger in size compared to the brains of other mammals (Vrtika). This suggests that humans have a higher capability for social interactions since they can communicate by spoken languages and can easily read other people’s body language and the expressive human face. It would seem that we are designed to interact with one another. But what if we don’t?
The Antisocial Effects
Since humans have been designed by Mother Nature to be social creatures, it’s understandable that socializing is a very important aspect of a human’s life. And when humans ignore this need, not only will their lifestyle change, but it’s physically and mentally bad for the human body. Being severely antisocial has been linked to depression, a serious mental disorder that causes a person to become unbearably sad, lose interest in social activities or work, and become irritated. Symptoms include slow movements and thinking, an increased or decreased amount of food consumption, and thoughts of suicide (Bruce). Most noticeably, being very antisocial is a personality disorder that especially causes issues within young children. Boys further withdraw from social interactions while girls are faced with eating disorders, anxiety, and suicidal behavior, according to a seven-year study by the University of Washington (Vieru). And while there is no research proving that being antisocial directly affects the rest of body, the brain and the actions of us are most definitely affected by this behavior.
The Line Between Antisocial and Severely Antisocial
On the other hand, being antisocial is not exactly uncommon. Some people want to leave the hustle and bustle of the city to the quiet countryside where they are the only person for miles around or some travel the less taken path heedless of society’s expectations. When compared to wolves, it’s like being the lone wolf—harder to get through life but not entirely impossible. Nonetheless, when not severe, this personality disorder isn’t always doom and gloom—introverts, individuals who would rather be alone than with others, quieter individuals, or just shy people, are often considered as antisocial individuals. Most times, introverts aren’t the overly zealous, loud people, but the creative and quiet thinkers in the background. Two psychologists, both by the name of Allport, once said that introverts “dwell...largely in a realm of imagination” and are more capable to fulfill the roles of artists, writers and poets in any society (Collingwood). So, being antisocial isn’t the end of the world, especially when it isn’t severe. It’s just another health problem, like allergies or down syndrome, which people can live with and move on with life, even with these problems as obstacles blocking their way. While others are social, others are not; it just shows that humans differ in their personalities and activities. Every human is a special snowflake, afterall.
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Neuroscience - Swenson, Dartmouth Medical School, 2006,
Accessed 19 Aug. 2017.
Vieru, Tudor. “Anti-Social Behavior Leads to Depression.” Softpedia News, 18 Feb. 2009
Accessed 18 Aug. 2017.
Vrticka, Pascal. “Evolution of the ‘Social Brain’ in Humans: What Are the Benefits and Costs of
Belonging to a Social Species?” The Huffington Post, 16 September, 2013, Accessed 19 Aug. 2017.