About the Authors

John T. Cacioppo

John T. Cacioppo, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on social and emotional influences on brain, behavioral, and biological processes, is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor at The University of Chicago, as well as president of the Association for Psychological Science.

At Chicago, John founded and directs the interdisciplinary Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience. He is also a member of the Department of Psychology, the Department of Psychiatry, and the Neuroscience Institute.

More than 20 years ago, John began working with Gary Berntson of the University of Ohio to pioneer a new field they called “social neuroscience.” This is an interdisciplinary attempt to trace how social forces “get under the skin” to affect physiology, as well as how physiology influences social interactions. John’s recent research on loneliness, conducted in collaboration with Louise Hawkley, Ron Thisted, and Linda Waite, has raised questions about one of the pillars of modern medicine and psychology—the focus on the individual as the broadest appropriate unit of inquiry.

By employing brain scans, monitoring of autonomic and neuroendocrine processes, and assays of immune function, John an his colleagues have found that the influence of social context is so strong that it can alter genetic expression in white blood cells. This research also showed how the subjective sense of social isolation (“loneliness”) uniquely disrupts our perceptions, behavior, and physiology, becoming a trap that not only reinforces isolation, but can lead to early death.

William Patrick

As a writer, editor, and publishing executive, Bill has had the privilege of working with some of the most important scientists of our time, including Nobel laureate Sir Peter Medawar, two-time Pulitzer Prize and National Medal of Science winner E. O. Wilson, Jane Goodall, Stephen Jay Gould, and Bernd Heinrich. He has also edited two-time National Book Award finalist Melissa Fay Greene, the Atlantic’s Jack Beatty, National Book Award winning poet Robert Bly, Reinventing Government expert David Osborne, technology gurus Howard Rheingold and Kevin Kelly (the first Executive Editor of WIRED), business consultants Warren Bennis, Michael Treacy, Stan Davis, and Chris Meyer, as well as basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson. He has worked collaboratively with Joey Kramer, the drummer for Aerosmith, the Reverend Robert H. Schuller, World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, University of Toronto School of Management Dean Roger Martin, Harvard Child Psychiatrist Dr. William Beardslee, and the New York Times’ Tim Weiner, whose history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes, won the 2007 National Book Award in nonfiction.  Other notable books Bill has helped along include the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Measure of a Man and Iron John (on the list for over a year); Colonel Matthew Bogdanos’ Thieves of Baghdad; Joan Borysenko’s Minding the Body/Mending the Mind; and Kevin Kelly’s Out of Control. In 2007 Bill helped found The Journal of Life Sciences, a magazine covering the social implications of biomedical science (tjols.com), where he served as editor in chief.  The Wall Street Journal compared his novel Blood Winter to “the fresh early best of Graham Greene and John le Carre,” while the Sunday Times of London called it “moving, dryly funny, macabre, enthralling.”

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