Loneliness is bad, and it has long been known that many health risks accompany this condition. American researchers have now confirmed another characteristic: those who feel lonely see and evaluate the world around them in a very unique way.

Have you ever wondered why you see the world so differently with someone you know who feels so lonely? Researchers at USC Dornsife in Los Angeles appear to have found the answer: While non-loners show similar patterns of brain information processing, those of loners are quite unique, and even different from each other.

The study involved 66 college freshmen and used an fMRI machine to image their brain patterns while participants watched videos on various topics. The videos presented multiple scenarios for analysis. Before taking the survey, test subjects had to fill out a questionnaire that measured an individual’s personal feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

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Based on the answers, the participants were divided into two groups (alone and not alone), and their brains were then scanned. After comparing the brain imaging data of the two groups, it was found that the lonelier individuals showed more distinct and unique brain processing patterns compared to their non-lonely counterparts.

The researchers believe this finding is important because it reveals that neural similarity, which refers to how similar brain activity patterns are in different individuals, is linked to a shared understanding of the world. This shared understanding is important for building social relationships. Not only do lonely people conform less to society’s universal treatment standards, but all lonely people are also unique. This can become a kind of vicious cycle, as exclusivity can further impact feelings of isolation and lack of social connections.

In the future, they will examine people who have friends and are socially active, but still feel lonely. In addition, they will also look into specific situations that lonely people deal with differently.

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