A Fundamental Human Motive Although born helpless, human infants are equipped with reflexes that orient them toward people. They are uniquely responsive to human faces, they turn their head toward voices, and they are able to mimic certain facial gestures on cue. Then, a few weeks later, the baby flashes a first smile, surely the warmest sign of all. Much to the delight of parents all over the world, the newborn seems an inher- ently social animal. But wait. If you reflect on the amount of time that you spend talking to, being with, flirting with, confiding in, pining for, or worrying about other peo- ple, you’ll realize that we are all social ani- mals. It seems that people need people.
Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
According to Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary, the need to belong is a basic human motive, “a pervasive drive to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of lasting, positive, and significant interpersonal relationships”. This general propo- sition is supported by everyday observation and a great deal of research. All over the world, people feel joy when they form new social attachments and react with anxiety and grief when these bonds are broken—as when separated from a loved one by distance, divorce, or death. The need to belong runs deep, which is why people get very distressed when they are neglected by others, rejected, excluded, stigmatized, or ostracized, all forms of “social death”.