Gal Litvak

Loneliness prevention

In this study, we wished to explore the prospects of a preventative device for a pressing problem - loneliness. This research was conducted with Ayelet Batist, Liron Sayag and Bar Segal of the department of Cognitive Science in the Hebrew University.

-> Download the research paper (in Hebrew)

Illustration by Makoto Funatsu

With modern day social values driving people (predominantly in the West) towards a more solitary lifestyle, loneliness is becoming more and more pervasive. Due to a growing awareness of the psychological and physical risks of loneliness, it has received more attention in recent years, promoting new forms of treatment, with the UK going so far as to appoint a loneliness minister. In the midst of much innovation in loneliness “treatment” we recognized a lack in available preventative solutions. To fill that gap we devised a loneliness preventative device inspired by parallel solutions from the world of physical health and fitness, characterized by a 3 step structure: diagnosis, forming a preventative “treatment” plan and finally offering support for implementing the treatment.

In our research we devised a process for preventative diagnoses by mapping subject’s social connections and providing them with an easy to understand representation of that complex social system. We tested the effect that mapping one’s social connections had on how they perceived their social connectivity and how that might effect their motivation to act towards forming better social connections and indeed found support to our hypothesis.