NLTG 14/15: IJzerman

NIAS-Lorentz Theme Group 2014/15: Social Support: Channels, Contexts, Health Consequences, and Technological Applications
The NIAS-Lorentz Theme Group “Social Support” explores how social relationships and health are related. The group members will carry out their intensive interdisciplinary collaboration project from 1 February 2015 until 30 April 2015.

Research project
We know that the quality of people’s relationships is related to health. Having a good social network is as strongly or stronger related to health than classic health predictors, like obesity and smoking. But we understand only the basics of how relationships and health are related. Do relationships improve our health, and, if so, how? Members of this theme group have revealed that relationships relate to health through so-called embodied channels, like a warm, soothing touch. If this is indeed the case, how can we incorporate embodied channels into computer-mediated communication, and how can we lower the threshold through technology for those who have troubles relating?

Theme Group members
Jim Coan, University of Virginia
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Brigham Young University
Spike W.S. Lee, University of Toronto (coordinator)
Harry Reis, University of Rochester
Hans IJzerman, Tilburg University (coordinator)


The workshop “Social Support TAT: Theory, Applications, and Technology” was held from 16 March through 20 March 2015, and brought together different perspectives on social support (e.g. biological, neurological, psychological), thereby getting a better understanding of why and how social support is so important to human beings.