Generally speaking, humans are social creatures who demonstrate a lifetime need to connect and engage with others. In our recent discussion of the biology of social engagement, we considered how we are hard-wired for connection from birth on and that the behaviors associated with interaction appear to be controlled by the 10th Cranial Nerve, the parasympathetic Vagus. Stephen Porges, a brilliant researcher, proposed a model known as the social engagement system to illustrate how emotional experiences interact with brain processes to drive our social behavior. When I first came across this information, I found it very intriguing and it left me with these questions: How much of our behavior is the result of conscious choice and how much of our behavior is driven by reactive, unconscious responses? Well, at this point, you may be thinking, “Okay, this is kind of interesting, but how useful and practical is this information?” Well, if you are interested in gaining insight into your social behavior or in maintaining smooth and effective social interaction with others on a personal and professional level, then you may find this series to be of great value.
Have you ever wondered what drives your reactions in certain social situations? Has it ever interfered with your ability to engage in a smooth and effective manner? Please feel free to share your experiences!