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

4 Ways to Not Beat Yourself Up Over Your Breakup

Instead of self-criticism, use an agonizing breakup or divorce to grow and to better know what to look for (and look out for) the next time around. Here are four ways.

Barry Goldwater’s Moral Foundations of Conservatism

In 1960, Barry Goldwater made observations about the differences between Liberals and Conservatives that were later supported by Jonathan Haidt's work on moral foundations.

Friends as Allies

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 21, 2017 in One Among Many
Friends are allies, but not all allies are friends.
Tim Gouw/unsplash

An Open Letter to People Who Talk Too Much

By Sophia Dembling on April 20, 2017 in The Introvert's Corner
Introverts are often sitting ducks for chatterboxes. This is what we're thinking as we sit and listen and listen and listen.

7 Must-Read Books to Change Your Life This Summer

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on April 20, 2017 in Feeling It
After a long winter, here's some serious inspiration for the summer months to boost your happiness and success!
J. Krueger

Divide and Conquer

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 19, 2017 in One Among Many
Acts of mental division or subtraction are critical for our understanding of thinking. How much new light do they shed?

Glass Man

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in How To Do Life
A short-short story about lookism, loneliness, and reclusiveness.

Why Speaking Less is the Secret to Powerful Communication

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in Feeling It
In our quest to become powerful communicators, we forget about the powerful impact of shutting up and listening.

What Gifts Do the Sexes Buy for Each Other? It Depends!

What types of gifts to men and women give each other? Well, it depends on who is doing the giving!

Are Romantic Relationships Good for Your Self-Esteem?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on April 16, 2017 in Living Single
What is the link between self-esteem and romantic relationships? A 3-year study of more than 9,000 people offers some surprising answers as well as some obvious ones.

Rabble Rouser Goes Twitter

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on April 16, 2017 in Rabble Rouser
Scientific psychology, social psychology, scientific dysfunction, the psychology of scientific integrity, science reform, in a nutshell, on a daily basis.

Learning to Speak Up When You're From a Culture of Deference

By Andy Molinsky Ph.D. on April 16, 2017 in Adaptation
Many people come from highly deferential cultures where it's very hard to speak up.

10 Best Tech Devices to Prevent Rape

By Susan Harrow on April 15, 2017 in The Body Blog
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center has estimated that one in five women will be raped at some time in their lives. This is terrifying statistic that should have women ...

Helping Your Neighbor

We often help others with expectations of help in return at a future point. Turns out, this is a basic feature of what it means to be human.

The Happy Healthy Pornosexual

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 13, 2017 in Ambigamy
Apparently, some can watch porn without it getting out of hand.

How Universal Is Body Language?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 12, 2017 in Media Spotlight
Are emotional signals shaped by different cultures or are they universal to all humans? An ambitious new research project seeks to answer that question,

Disorganized Attachment: Fears That Go Unanswered

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on April 12, 2017 in The Me in We
How disorganized attachment in infancy impacts emotional and social development.

Are Humans Adapted to Modern Environments?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 11, 2017 in The Human Beast
Our two main theories of human behavior do a poor job of explaining how humans change to meet the demands of varied environments – but we do.

On Belonging

A sense of belonging can play a crucial role in our wellbeing.

The Secret to Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

By Andy Molinsky Ph.D. on April 09, 2017 in Adaptation
Scared to step outside your comfort zone? You'll be surprised what you'll discover when you just take that leap.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Avoid "Daring" Behavior

Unlike the innocent childhood game, playing "Truth or Dare" with sexual predators is a lose-lose proposition. Read this before accepting a challenge you will later regret.

Pepsi’s Self-Inflicted Wound: Trivializing Social Action

Trying to push the pop culture envelope again, Pepsi’s ad with Kendall Jenner backfires.

Toward a Quantum Model of Humor

By Liane Gabora Ph.D. on April 06, 2017 in Mindbloggling
The bisociation of incongruous frames or word meanings in jokes is modelled as a linear superposition of basis states, or possible interpretations, in a complex Hilbert space.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Don't Play Truth or Dare

Playing "Truth or Dare," you either disclose personal information, or engage in reckless behavior you usually regret. Sexual predators target individuals who are willing to play.
Tim Gouw/Unsplash

Have Better Conversations With Someone With Hearing Loss

By Shari Eberts on April 05, 2017 in Life With Hearing Loss
Would you like to have better conversations with someone with hearing loss? These communication best practices can help.
William Murphy/Flickr

Aging, Resilience, and The New Normal

What's the key to resilience as you grow older? Adjusting to your New Normal.

When and What Do I Tell My New Boyfriend About My ADD?

“How do I explain my ADD to my new boyfriend?” the transfer student asks. Our conversation captures the tension of self-disclosure.

Your Brain on Text

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 04, 2017 in The Human Beast
Athletes look different from non athletes. Similarly, the brains of literate people are different from those who do not read.

The One Male Behavior That Irritates Women the Most

A man who presumes he knows more than the women around him can, without realizing it, engage in this one behavior sure to annoy his female companions. New research shows why.

Developing Deep Attention: The Key to True Intimacy

By Ken Page L.C.S.W. on April 04, 2017 in Finding Love
An interview with ADHD expert Edward Hallowell, M.D., who teaches five simple steps to cultivate deep attention, the key to a life filled with intimacy.