chapter  9
24 Pages

Health and Behavior: An Evolutionary Perspective on Contemporary Problems

WithDavid A. Hamburg

The life sciences include effective inquiry at every level of biological organization: molecules, cells, organisms, populations, and behavior. The circulatory changes associated with alarm reactions to severe stressors resemble those that accompany the development of experimental and human hypertension. Most nonhuman primates live in well-defined groups whose internal structure is based upon strong and enduring bonds between individuals. The interindividual attachment so characteristic of nonhuman primates reaches an extreme form in human societies. Once the nonhuman primate infant is weaned, it forages for itself; even in the chimpanzee, food-sharing between adults is minimal. A growing body of research into the relationship between human attachments, illness, and mortality is providing evidence that people whose human attachments are weak also are more prone to illness and early death. Adolescence in humans—and nonhuman primates—is a time when extensive changes occur in physiological and biochemical systems and behavior.