Understanding Social Life

Human beings are social animals, and the tenor of our social life is one of the most important influences on our mental health. Without positive, durable relationships, both our minds and our bodies fall apart. We begin life dependent for survival on the quality of relationship with our primary caregiver, usually Mom. And the nature of that relationship typically influences all others in our life. Our survival as a species similarly hinges on our capacity for social living. Most of human history was spent in small groups in which each was dependent on the others for survival, and evidence suggests this is the condition to which we are best adapted.

Recent posts on Social Life

Candy, Costumes, and Scares. Oh My!

By Shawn M. Burn Ph.D. on October 21, 2017 in Presence of Mind
What's behind people's love for Halloween and wild Halloween behavior?

Clear Thinking: A Workshop

What's the meaning of thinking? Is it different from being worried?

How to Wield the Power of Vulnerability

Think about the last time you tried to have a conversation with someone who didn’t already agree with you. How well did it go?

The Most Attractive (Invisible) Asset on a Date

If you set your device on the table on a date, beware: distraction signals disinterest. Instead, cultivate chemistry through the most significant silent compliment: your attention.

Bromance Over Romance, Say Men in New Study

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on October 17, 2017 in Living Single
A study of 30 heterosexual university men found that they valued their bromances more than their romances in every way except one.

The Role of Creepy Characters in Popular Culture

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on October 16, 2017 in Out of the Ooze
Watching disturbing people onscreen in the safety of a movie theater or in our living room may provide an opportunity for learning vicariously from the mistakes of others.

Sexual Harassment at Work: Why Bystanders Fail to Intervene

"If you see something say something" applies in the workplace to more than threat assessment. It should govern the way we approach identifying sexual harassment.

What Does Identity Have to Do With Inequality?

Does identity explain inequality?

Boy Scouts Still Shut the Door on Some Kids

By David Niose on October 15, 2017 in Our Humanity, Naturally
The Boy Scouts of America has gotten more inclusive in recent years, but this makes its exclusion of atheist children all the more conspicuous.

How Lack of Sleep Affects Your Social Life

By David Ludden Ph.D. on October 15, 2017 in Talking Apes
Although the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation are widely known, few people pay much attention to the social side of sleep.

How Can We Promote a Sense of Global Community?

By Peter T. Coleman Ph.D. on October 12, 2017 in The Five Percent
Sustaining our planet: How can we promote a sense of global community? 10 big ideas on peace and justice from the career of Morton Deutsch

Bigfoot Parents Have Small Brains

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on October 12, 2017 in How We Do It
Birds and mammals mostly show intensive parenting, linked to their “warm-blooded” nature and quite large brains. Incubator birds show no care of their chicks and have tiny brains.

6 Tips for Decoding Emotions in Text Messages

Is she mad at you? Is he in love with you? Here's some ways to decode emotions in text messages to find out.

12 Things I Didn’t Expect to Happen As I Age

I’ve noticed some changes in my life as I age, and it’s been interesting to discover what a surprise each one is to me. Some things I’ve welcomed; others not so much.

How Are African Americans Doing? I: Violence and Segregation

By Stanton Peele Ph.D. on October 09, 2017 in Addiction in Society
African Americans' status has deteriorated over the last 50 years, while whites strive to isolate themselves from black problems. Liberals do so while denying this segregation.

Teen Dating, Sex Hit Record Lows for Recent Decades

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on October 07, 2017 in Living Single
The authors think the path to adulthood is slowing. I think the story is bigger than that.

Can You Judge Trustworthiness From a Face?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on October 07, 2017 in Talking Apes
A sucker may be born every minute, but you don’t have to be one of them.

A Simpler, Smarter Response to Accusations

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 06, 2017 in Ambigamy
"Well, of course, I'm biased, like you, like everyone. The only question here is whether I'm biased appropriately."

Trust: The Key to Social Harmony

By Joe Navarro M.A. on October 05, 2017 in Spycatcher
At the foundation of all great relationships whether at home or at work lies trust.

Anxiety Springs Eternal

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on October 05, 2017 in The Human Beast
Anxiety is the unsolvable problem that gives rise to many others, from addiction and suicide to depression, obesity, and economic failure.
Bobby Hoffman/slidebot/used with permission

3 Reasons Why People Refuse to Help Others

By Bobby Hoffman Ph.D. on October 03, 2017 in Motivate!
Suffering and tragedy bring out the best and worst in humanitarian effort. Why do some generously volunteer time and money, while others flatly refuse to help those in need?

Virtues, Values, and Moral Bullying

Who shouts loudest on social media probably isn't the most critical of thinkers.

Dating Dealbreakers: How to Make or Break a First Date

Dating dealbreakers come in all shapes and sizes. From personality,to lifestyle, to health. Make it a priority to spot them on a first date, when you are at your most objective.

How a Picture With Friends Can Get You a Date!

Does who you surround yourself with matter when looking for a date? Can being near friends (or lovers) make you more attractive to potential partners? Find out here…

Why Does the Man Without Fear Become a Loner Among Heroes?

Why is the superhero nicknamed "the Man without Fear" arguably the biggest loner among Marvel superheroes? Do both disability and ability make Daredevil distant and disconnected?

Death and Transhumanism

By Clay Routledge Ph.D. on September 30, 2017 in More Than Mortal
As people become less traditionally religious do they become more interested techno-religions that use science to solve the problem of death?

How Much Diversity Can We Handle?

When we embrace diversity, we reap benefits in the long term, with much conflict in the short term.

It's (Not Always) A Wonderful Life

By Amie M. Gordon, Ph.D. on September 30, 2017 in Between You and Me
There is a rather unfortunate term in psychology, hedonic adaptation, that summarizes the state of long-term relationships. It is the tendency to get used to the good in our lives.

Making Friends: There’s An App For That

By Miriam Kirmayer on September 30, 2017 in Casual to Close
With the success and ubiquity of online dating, it’s not too surprising that friendships are now making their way into the virtual world.

It Won't Take Long

By Nathan A Heflick Ph.D. on September 30, 2017 in The Big Questions
Do those in power estimate the time things will take to be completed more than those not in power?