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

Tagging Toxic Peers: How Online Friends Become Frenemies

Online friendship involves self-disclosure, which increases vulnerability. When friends become frenemies, disclosed personal information becomes ammunition for cyber-aggression.

First aid for when your toddler doesn’t communicate

Every parent knows the feeling of both joy and anxiety when a baby starts growing up and discovering the world, trying everything and experimenting.

The Most Powerful Word For Promoting Love And Intimacy Is...

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on June 24, 2017 in Think Well
There is one simple word that has incredible power when it comes to promoting love, closeness and good feelings in meaningful relationships. It might surprise you know what it is.

When Words are Deadly Weapons: Michelle Carter´s Conviction

For people who would rather text than talk, words can be more dangerous than sticks and stones. Texting is pervasive and persuasive, facilitating cyber courtship to cyber stalking.

8 Ways to Ask Questions and Improve Your Relationships

Knowing how to ask the right questions is a fundamental skill to relationship-building. Based on new research, these 8 tips will help you get the answers you need.

Do You Mate Like a Cavewoman?

By Donna Barstow on June 24, 2017 in Ink Blots Cartoons
If you've never used Darwin in your dating practices before, you're missing out. Cavewomen had multiple orgasms without even trying.

The Psychology of Selfies

By David Ludden Ph.D. on June 24, 2017 in Talking Apes
A new study shows how people adjust the camera angle of their selfies to manage the impression they want to make on other persons.

My Friend Is Backing Out of Our Trip

Whether this relationship is romantic or platonic, it sounds like he just isn’t that into you.

Are You in Love?

What does love and being in love look like?

Our Worst Angels: Inconvenient Psychological Truths, Part 1

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in Insight Therapy
What might rappers, gender studies academics, and abusive parents have in common?

Psychology for Real

Psychologists work in organizations, contributing to the bottom line. How do they fare in a world where ‘p’ stands for profit instead of probability?

Hating the Elite

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in The Human Beast
Many deride the wealthy elite as symbols of inequality in democratic societies supposedly founded on equality. Why do people hate them so much?

Feeling Powerful Changes How We Respond to Being Stared At

Perceiving ourselves to be higher in status can buffer us from feeling intimidated.

The Loneliness Epidemic and What We Can Do About It

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in Feeling It
Our need to feel special is may be feeding a loneliness crisis. Here's what we can do!

Involuntary Celibacy

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on June 21, 2017 in Minority Report
There's a growing subculture of men who identify themselves as "incels" (i.e. involuntary celibates) and they are expressing their frustrations online.

The Art of Choosing a Romantic Partner (Part Two)

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on June 21, 2017 in Media Spotlight
Why do we choose the romantic partners that we do? And what shapes the choices we make? New research provides some interesting insights into partner selection.

The Badass Personalities of People Who Like Being Alone

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on June 21, 2017 in Living Single
What are the personality characteristics of people who like spending time alone? What about people who are unafraid to be single? Four studies offer an affirming profile.

Sticking With Your Goals

By Katherine Hawley Ph.D. on June 21, 2017 in Trust
If you're struggling to achieve your goals, try recruiting a little help from your friends.
Joshua Ness/Unsplash

Why We Should Be Having More Meaningful Conversations

Meaningful conversation is linked to happiness? Introverts got it right.

Small Samples, Big Hopes

If you observe an event (datum) 3 standard deviations away from the theoretical prediction, do you do a significance test?

The Relationship Benefits of Going “Facebook Official”

On Facebook, one of the secrets of relational success is publicly disclosing relational status. This digital promise ring reflects stronger, more committed relationships.

Social Loneliness May Make the Depressed Even More So

Clinically it has to be labelled mental illness, this depression. Is it an illness, however, this need to converse authentically?

Would People Agree About Everything If We Paid Them?

By Rob Henderson on June 19, 2017 in After Service
Do people change their minds about facts if they're paid? Research suggests the answer is yes.

Why Posted Prices Are Often Meaningless

There’s a significant gap between asked-for prices and what customers actually pay.

Pathological Resistance to Change Does Not Make Us Great

Looking backwards won't make us great. We need innovation to tackle big problems like energy outages and their impact on the elderly. Our collective resilience depends on it.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Pitching In

In a situation requiring an extra hand, pitching in offers ways to show love.

Statistics as a Social Process

Statistics is a bag of tools for inductive inference. No more. Do not be afraid.

Is Your Partner Facebook Cheating?

When your partner is a friend, fan, or follower of a romantic rival, how does such divided attention impact your relationship?
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Helping Your Child with Autism Improve Social Skills

As a parent of a child with autism, do you wonder how you can help him approach social situations with confidence, rather than anxiety? These strategies can help you help him.

The Social Cost of Success

By Juliana Breines Ph.D. on June 15, 2017 in In Love and War
Success may inspire others, but it can also fuel resentment. Here’s why—and what you can do about it.