Originally published 03/18/2013
Jeffrey P. Kahn, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, is the author of “Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression.”HUMAN beings are social animals. But just as important, we are socially constrained as well.We can probably thank the latter trait for keeping our fledgling species alive at the dawn of man. Five core social instincts, I have argued, gave structure and strength to our primeval herds. They kept us safely codependent with our fellow clan members, assigned us a rank in the pecking order, made sure we all did our chores, discouraged us from offending others, and removed us from this social coil when we became a drag on shared resources.Thus could our ancient forebears cooperate, prosper, multiply — and pass along their DNA to later generations.