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

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Go or Don't Go: The Whys and Why Nots

By Sophia Dembling on February 22, 2017 in The Introvert's Corner
Staying home is not always the right choice, even for introverts. Here's how I weigh various situations to decide if I want to stay in or get out there.

What NOT to Do When You Discover Your Partner Is Cheating

Here are 5 ways to NOT react when you discover your partner is cheating on you.

Greed Is Good?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on February 22, 2017 in The Human Beast
Greed is good! Sharing is for Communists and losers! Do such maxims capture the essence of human social behavior?

Life Skills to Have Before Starting Kindergarten

By Kyle D. Pruett M.D. on February 21, 2017 in Once Upon a Child
Life skills are ways we learn, through experience and teaching, to manage our behavior in and outside of our families.

Status in a Group Affects Generosity Toward the Group

By Art Markman Ph.D. on February 21, 2017 in Ulterior Motives
Groups of people naturally form groups that have status hierarchies. How does someone's status affect their generosity toward other group members?
Svend Brinkmann

How to Stand Firm in a Runaway World

By Svend Brinkmann Ph.D. on February 21, 2017 in Stand Firm
Are you buying one self-help book after another without really becoming happy? If so you are likely addicted to personal development and in need of anti-self-help.

What Happens if You Love a Flirt?

Does flirting have a place in on-going relationships or should it be limited to relationship initiation?

Gender Wrap

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 19, 2017 in One Among Many
The study of gender relations is difficult. The study of gender stereotypes is easier. Here are some results.

Marriage as a Constraint

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on February 19, 2017 in Fighting Fear
Someone may explain a hesitancy to marry in terms of a particular partner. Often, however, there are are more general reasons.Some men and women see marriage as a constraint.

"People are a Minefield"

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 18, 2017 in How To Do Life
One in my series of short-short stories with psychological implications.

Do Cleaner Shrimp Get Jealous?

By Peter Toohey Ph.D. on February 17, 2017 in Annals of the Emotions
The jealous triangle is usually reckoned to be one on one, with the prize, say, a lover. But it’s not all sex, it’s not all one on one, and it’s not all humans.

Self-Deification!

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 17, 2017 in Ambigamy
Self-deification is all the rage these days! Climb on the bandwagon! There's room for you and you don't need to know anything to do it!

No Mom, You Can't Read Your Daughter's Diary (or Texts)

By Nancy Darling Ph.D. on February 16, 2017 in Thinking About Kids
Your gut tells you that it's wrong to snoop in someone's diary or texts. But why? Twenty years of research backs up your gut. But also tells us when it might be okay.

Race as a Social Construction, Part 2

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on February 16, 2017 in Without Prejudice
What if Chinese people were categorized as “Black," and Japanese people as “White”?

System Justification: Why People Buy Into Social Inequality

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on February 16, 2017 in Without Prejudice
We do not always act in the best interests of our self or our groups.

Controlling the Conduct of College Women in the 1960s

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in Out of the Ooze
Rules regulating the freedoms of college women were absolutely draconian in 1962. In hindsight, the unabashed double standards of collegiate social regulations were jaw dropping.

The Con of Propaganda

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in Insight Therapy
If you don’t hear much about propaganda, that’s what you’re hearing.

Ten Ways to Heal Your Attachment Issues

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in Emotional Fitness
It’s never too late to have a close relationship with someone you love. If you had a connection before, you can have it again.

Feeling Friendless After Separation

By Irene S Levine Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in The Friendship Doctor
Advice on dealing with separation from a long-time partner.

XO in XY

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on February 14, 2017 in The Political Animal
A small army of human geneticists is unfolding the history of human mating from our sex chromosomes.

So You Think You Can Dance?

By Lydia Denworth on February 14, 2017 in Brain Waves
What makes a woman a good dancer? The hips don't lie.
Us Around 1976

I Enjoy Myself Best When I'm Enjoying Somebody Else

By Bernard L. De Koven on February 14, 2017 in On Having Fun
Another truth my love reveals...

Nine Types of Love

By Kimberly Key on February 14, 2017 in Counseling Keys
Cats may have nine lives. Humans have nine loves. In fact, we can benefit from all nine of these types of love.

Who Was Valentine?

By Neel Burton M.D. on February 13, 2017 in Hide and Seek
The history of Valentine's Day.

The Privilege of Not Understanding Privilege

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on February 13, 2017 in Feeling Our Way
I don’t want rich people to apologize for being born with money; I just want them to act like they know they didn’t earn it.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Giving

By Roni Beth Tower Ph.D., ABPP on February 12, 2017 in Life, Refracted
Give time, caring, and attention as well as gifts, experiences, and words.

The Social Psychology of Democracy

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on February 11, 2017 in Rabble Rouser
Why and how do democracies fail and become autocracies? What are the social and psychological phenomena leading people to lose faith in democracy and support tyrannies?

Will You Be My Valentine (With a Disability)?

A new dating app seems to provide an easy way to meet partners with and without disabilities. Will it be successful despite the potential stigma?

Five Steps to Get Anyone to Open Up to You About Anything

Curiosity about other people is a natural part of the human condition. Using knowledge from new research on persuasion, you can satisfy that curiosity with these 5 steps.

7 Ways to Own Your Success Without Sounding Narcissistic

It's OK to tell other people about your achievement. Here's how to do it without bragging.