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

Can You Sue Someone Over a Broken Promise?

By Ruth Lee Johnson J.D. on August 18, 2017 in So Sue Me
Have you ever relied on someone's promise, only to be hurt when that promise was broken? Promissory estoppel is the little-known legal doctrine that holds people to their word.

A Simpler Way to Get Along Without Asking About Feelings

By Kimberly Key on August 18, 2017 in Counseling Keys
Some people, and lots of men, have been raised not to feel and are at a loss when they are asked to identify a feeling. Or worse, they have been abused for their feelings.

Are Friends the Enemies of Wise Choices?

Could your friends be causing you to make bad choices? Avoid this problem with a few tips from this piece.

A Simple Tool for Greater Relationship Satisfaction

By Grant H. Brenner M.D. on August 18, 2017 in ExperiMentations
In today's hectic, sometimes lonely, day and age, proven tools to increase passion and relationship satisfaction are a sought after commodity. Research is illuminating, and useful.

Confluence, Unity, and Coliberation

By Bernard L. De Koven on August 16, 2017 in On Having Fun
The experience of confluence is the glue that binds us to a social setting, the promised reward that keeps us seeking each other out. It is not freedom, it is union.

Sleep and the Social Brain

By Patrick McNamara Ph.D. on August 15, 2017 in Dream Catcher
Each night key structures of the social brain are deactivated during NREM and then reactivated during REM. Why?

What Makes Conspiracy Theories so Appealing?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on August 14, 2017 in Media Spotlight
What motivates people to believe in different conspiracy theories and what makes these beliefs so hard to change?

How Can We Change the Rampant Disrespect in Our World?

Is disrespect wearing you down? Some ways to begin making a difference.

Teens and Texting: A Recipe for Disaster

Teens and texting... Is your child the next Michelle Carter?

The Big 3 Myths of Cultural Adaptation

By Andy Molinsky Ph.D. on August 12, 2017 in Adaptation
Why your instincts are so often wrong when crossing cultures -- and what you can do about it

Beware: On a First Date, Red Flags Can Look Red Hot

Beware dangerous liaisons. On a first date, exciting, assertive people perceived as desirable might be dangerous. Get to know prospective partners before getting involved.

The Seduction of Secret—How Intrigue Sparks Attraction

Mysterious, fascinating, or assertive partners spark intrigue and admiration. Yet avoid a date with disaster by considering why someone does not open up.

New Research On How Waiting Impacts Consumer Behavior

An hour wait for that trendy new cupcake? How long you wait may impact how much you buy.

You've Got to Be Carefully Taught

Is there a new Diversity Gap? How does it affect our children?
dark energy, not expanding

Testing Free Will

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on August 09, 2017 in One Among Many
Not to rain on your parade, but the will is still not free. Just accept it, freely if you will.

9 Tips to Stay Sober on Your Next Vacation

With summer in full swing, here are a few quick and easy tips to keep you or a loved one happy, healthy and sober on your next adventure.

The Psychology of First Impressions

By David Ludden Ph.D. on August 08, 2017 in Talking Apes
Researchers identify four facial features that drive our first impressions of others.

Road and Sideline Rage

What to do if you’re a person or parent subject to misplaced anger and aggression.

Awe as an Antidote to the Polarized Mind

By Kirk J. Schneider Ph.D. on August 08, 2017 in Awakening to Awe
Awe-based tips for healing the social divides.

The Problem with Assuming Others Are Perfect

By Barbara Greenberg Ph.D. on August 07, 2017 in The Teen Doctor
Assuming others live perfect lives is problematic.
adamkuylenstierna/Twenty20

Why Socializing Drains Introverts More Than Extroverts

There are some very real differences between introverts and extroverts, and these differences come down to how they respond to rewards.

Danger Zones: 3 Red Flags to Avoid on a First Date

Many daters unwittingly blow their chances of a first date turning into a second by treading into danger zones of awkwardness or inappropriate behavior.

The Best Way to Deal With People Who Talk Too Much

People who talk too much can make your work and social life miserable if you don’t feel like listening to them. New communications research shows how to manage the long-winded.

Evolved for Activism

Political activism has deep ancestral roots - going back to foundational features of what it means to be human. Understanding this fact can help make this world a better place.

In the Midst of Hate, Why Not Love?

How did the "summer of love" appear out of a backdrop of war and discontent?

Going Native

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on August 02, 2017 in One Among Many
When you “go native,” you not only enter an unfamiliar group, you also find that your folks don’t like it.

My Life as an Unlikable Woman

By Jennifer Haupt on August 02, 2017 in One True Thing
Janelle Brown's characters do everything that she is afraid of doing herself.

How to Recognize Toxic Individuals and Toxic Relationships

Have you ever questioned if you are in a toxic friendship or toxic romantic relationship? Do you feel beaten down by individuals who say they care about you? Learn the red flags!
Used by permission from Getty Images.

Why Be So Obnoxious at the Airport and on the Plane?

By Steve Albrecht DBA on August 01, 2017 in The Act of Violence
Can't we all just get along in the airport and on the plane?

Eight Ways to Cope with Annoying People

Good metacommunication describes annoying behaviors and annoying people in ways that they would readily agree with.