Maximus Thaler | The Evolution Institute
Dr. James Coan is a neuroscientist who specializes in measuring social cognition. His work falls under the heading of Social Baseline Theory. The critical claim of social baseline theory is that humans are inherently social creatures. Just as fish gills indicate that fish are aquatic creatures, the human mind has a suite of adaptations which indicate that we are social creatures.
For the entirety of human evolution (some 6 million years) people have always relied on other people. Social aid has been a fixture in humanity’s evolutionary environment, and our brains should reflect this.
Dr. Coan’s actual experiments are gruesomely simple. He puts people in an fMRI machine, shocks them, and watches what happens to their brain. And the variable that he manipulates is simple handholding.