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

Seven Tips for Kissing Like You Mean It

By Jennifer Haupt on August 31, 2015 in One True Thing
My husband of 25 years and I recently attended Kissing School, the brainchild of Seattle psychotherapist Cherie Byrd. Here's what we learned after seven hours of smoothing.

3 Ways Your Beliefs Can Shape Your Reality

By Juliana Breines Ph.D. on August 30, 2015 in In Love and War
Beliefs may not single-handedly determine your physical health, financial status, and chances at finding love, as some claim, but they are powerful nonetheless.

How to Pray for an Atheist

By David Niose on August 30, 2015 in Our Humanity, Naturally
Nonbelievers don't want prayers, but they often get them anyway. What's the etiquette of unsolicited prayers? And is it changing as the nonreligious demographic grows?

The Psychology of Gestures

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on August 29, 2015 in A Sideways View
Think of a rude gesture, and when you last used it. Think of a famous TV star and their peculiar and very personal gestures. What information are these gestures conveying? What can we read into head, hand and foot movements?

Sleep, Dreams, and Income Inequality

Low-income people tend to have worse sleep, and fewer lucid dreams, than do high-income people. Those are some of the findings from a new demographic survey of the sleep and dream patterns of American adults.

Mapping Your Position in Cultural Space

This blog offers a way to get a larger perspective on one's position in social space.

We need a folksy free will

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on August 27, 2015 in One Among Many
Andrew Monroe, who is an expert on moral psychology and folk beliefs about free will responds to an earlier post on 'Free Will Depletion.'

Who Do You Find Attractive?

Take a look at your standards for a potential partner. Now look again: they might be less stable than you think.

Stereotypical Gender Differences in Sexuality Are Crumbling

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on August 27, 2015 in The Human Beast
Marked differences between male and female sexuality used to be supported by solid evidence around the globe. The trouble is that such distinctions are getting blurred in developed countries.

Making Sense of Common Sense

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on August 27, 2015 in Consumed
How understanding the taken-for-granted can enrich behavioral science

Killing Academia: The Death of America's Colleges

Wake up, America! Your children are no longer being taught by professors.

A Game of Cards: A Gateway to Social Literacy

By Bernard L. De Koven on August 27, 2015 in On Having Fun
It becomes a better game, not because of the particular rules that you’re playing it by, but because you’ve played it so many different ways that it becomes a celebration of a growing bond between each and all members of the community.

Loving Competition

By Bernard L. De Koven on August 26, 2015 in On Having Fun
Of all the spaces in which we find each other, this space, the space between, the moment lightly held, where we face each other freely, is where the play is deepest.

Language Learning in a Multilingual Country

What is everyday interaction like in communities where everyone speaks several languages? What language learning strategies do they use? What assumptions do they make about language learning? Dr. Leslie C. Moore answers questions about the two multilingual communities in northern Cameroon where she did her research and about her own language learning in the field.

Why Narcissists Try to Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

It’s never pleasant to be the target of an insult. However, before you let an insulting remark get the better of you, stop and consider who’s doing the insulting. It’s likely that it’s just a narcissist, trying to feel better by making you feel bad.

When Working Shifts Works Against You

By Shelby Harris Psy.D. on August 25, 2015 in The Land of Nod
A discussion of Shift Work Sleep Disorder

Who Is Living with Whom?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on August 25, 2015 in Living Single
Alongside the well-known increase in the number of people living alone is another very different and less heralded trend – people who are living with all sorts of other people who are not their spouse or romantic partner.

Where Do We Draw the Line with Office Romance?

Many organizations ask themselves where the line is between “none of our business” and “hurts our business.”

Your Three Languages and How to Speak Them Well

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in Ambigamy
There's a lot of confusion about when it's best to be positive, negative and neutral. Here we sort it out.

Online Activities of Youth who Engage in Self-Harm Behaviors

By Michele Ybarra MPH, Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in Connected
In our new infographic, we explore what young people who engage in self-harm behavior do online. Compared to youth who do not engage in self-harm, youth with self-harm behaviors use the Internet in different ways.

Grade Flation

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in One Among Many
Grades are a mixed curse. We can't leave without them, unless the culture changes radically, which it won't. Here's some of the psychology between the preference for easy (and hard) As.

How to be a Groomsgal

Marriage equality is not just for "the gays." Wedding ceremonies and customs are evolving for all couples.

The Gorilla in the Concert Hall

By David Ludden Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in Talking Apes
Inattentional deafness can have serious real life—as well as life and death—consequences.

Zero Tolerance for Delay

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on August 23, 2015 in A Sideways View
Has the fact that so many services have become so much more efficient caused people to become unreasonably intolerant about any sort of delay?

Why Emoji Are Romantic and Belong in the Workplace

By Tim Leberecht on August 23, 2015 in The Romance of Work
Providing a third place between corporate jargon and watercooler chit chat, emoji are a digital form of rebellion against protocol; they allow us to be safely vulnerable, and express ourselves in a more subtle but at the same time more primal way. They take us out of our heads and put us back into our hearts. They make our work lives more meaningful.

Anxious America

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on August 23, 2015 in Hidden Motives
We spend over 2 billion dollars a year on anti-anxiety medications. What are we so anxious about?

The Secret to Controlling Other People

By Tim Carey Ph.D. on August 23, 2015 in In Control
It’s our own private collection of goals that determines what will be sticks and carrots for each of us.

Men, Women & Children (& Technology)

By Azadeh Aalai Ph.D. on August 21, 2015 in The First Impression
In what ways is the digital world changing what it means to be human? This question, and many other provocative ones, are raised by Reitman's new film, Men, Women & Children

Free Will Depletion

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on August 20, 2015 in One Among Many
After tortured administration of surgery and double-blind medicinalization, free will remains clinically dead. Here's another dyslogy.

5 Lessons From Informal Sports

By Bernard L. De Koven on August 20, 2015 in On Having Fun
“Real life is an informal game. The rules are endlessly modifiable and you must do your part to create them. In the end, there are no winners or losers; we all wind up in the same place." - Peter Gray