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

10 Ways to Find a Little More Happiness

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on February 23, 2018 in Emotional Fitness
Sometimes the quest for happiness can be as confounding as Indiana Jones looking for lost treasure. Just when you think you have a clue, a giant boulder comes rolling toward you.

"Hidden Forces and Essences" Psychology as Magic

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on February 22, 2018 in Rabble Rouser
Psychology and other social sciences have produced an array of incoherent and difficult to replicate hidden forces and "essences" that supposedly create inequality.

Feeling Lonely? Your Brain May Be At Risk.

Is being social while battling cancer really a priority? A new Breast Cancer Study shows links between loneliness and brain function.

How to Respond to Criticism

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on February 21, 2018 in Think Well
No one can avoid criticism. But understanding the three basic types of criticism, and how to best respond to each, can help us navigate some of the social labyrinth of life.

Finding True Love - Profiles in Perseverance

By Mendi Baron on February 21, 2018 in On the Verge
Ever wonder what it's like to try and help people find true love? It's as complex as you would think, but rewarding.

What Is China's Current Attitude Concerning Dogs?

By Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC on February 21, 2018 in Canine Corner
In modern China attitudes toward dogs are complex and varied. They have changed significantly over historical and modern times.

Me Too Movement Confronts an Ancient Problem

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on February 21, 2018 in The Human Beast
More than a third of female workers report being sexually harassed at work. Why is the problem so common?

Feeling Awkward? 12 Reassuring Lessons from Science

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on February 21, 2018 in Living Single
Author Melissa Dahl wanted to rid herself of awkward feelings. She discovered that she was thinking about cringeworthy experiences in all the wrong ways.

Let's Go Beyond He Said/She Said

By Barbara J. Risman Ph.D. on February 20, 2018 in Gender Questions?
Can going beyond gender itself help to end sexism, and protect women from #metoo moments in the future?

What Do Singles Really Want?

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on February 20, 2018 in In the Name of Love
Married people envy singles for their romantic freedom. Do singles envy married people for their serious relationships? A recent Match study indicates surprising trends.

Our Uncomfortable Relationship With a Connected History

By Isaiah Pickens Ph.D. on February 20, 2018 in Revolutionary Thoughts
During a month we reflect on the history of African Americans, how do we harness the difficult truths of America's past for healing? The psychology of connection may guide us.
The Public Queue

The Stupid Texting Syndrome (STS)

Why go back and forth when you can make a simple phone call?

Caveat Venditor!

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 19, 2018 in One Among Many
If, as we assume, you’d rather not give more for less, you may want to consider the dynamics of negotiation.
DepositPhotos/VIA Institute

6 Pathways to Mental Health You Probably Don’t Know

By Ryan M. Niemiec Psy.D. on February 19, 2018 in What Matters Most?
Want to get familiar with 6 pathways to psychological happiness? Hear the stories and tips of 6 people, as well as the latest research, to help you find your way!

Are You a Secret Scammer?

Have you ever cheated and then justified it? Why are people so prone to "beating the system"?

The P-Hack Rap

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on February 19, 2018 in Rabble Rouser
How Psychological Science Goes Wrong, in a Few HipHop Verses

Why You Should Not Brag on Social Media

By Utpal Dholakia on February 19, 2018 in The Science Behind Behavior
Boast posts of professional accomplishments on social media have negative repercussions.

What Will It Take to End the Epidemic of Bullying and Hate?

By Sue Scheff on February 19, 2018 in Shame Nation
We are bombarded with headlines of youth bullying and cyberbullying almost on a daily basis. New book outlines how we can can combat cruelty both online and off.

Why Life’s Better When We’re Together

By Douglas Van Praet on February 18, 2018 in Unconscious Branding
A fascinating study shows that our feelings and perceptions of day-to-day experiences our amplified when we share them with others.

"Make America Great Again," like Reagan and Clinton

An examination of President Trump's campaign slogan reveals roots with Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and a chance to define our own future with equality.

Rules of Engagement

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 17, 2018 in One Among Many
When the belief in the gun becomes a sacred value, it is time to switch religions.

Gun Violence? We Need to Start Listening to Each Other

By Michael Mascolo Ph.D. on February 16, 2018 in Values Matter
Yet another school shooting. But attacking "the other side" isn't going to get you what you want...

Major New Study on "Sonic Attack" Is Alarmingly Inaccurate

By Robert Bartholomew Ph.D. on February 16, 2018 in It's Catching
New "sonic attack" study is unsound and seriously flawed.

The Dangerous Doctrine of Free Will

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 15, 2018 in One Among Many
The Florida shooter planned and executed his gruesome deed. He is responsible. To say that he acted out of his free will is pointless. It undermines our understanding.

Differences in Grief Expression

Dismissing people's "thoughts and prayers" will backfire as a persuasion tactic.

Speeches for School Shootings

By Stanton Peele Ph.D. on February 15, 2018 in Addiction in Society
Every mass killing is followed by the same set speeches, interviews, and narratives.

Living an Examined Life

By The Book Brigade on February 15, 2018 in The Author Speaks
In the second half of life, you alone are responsible for yourself. Here’s some wisdom for becoming the grown up you want to be.

The Death of Empathy

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on February 14, 2018 in Am I Right?
So much bad news makes wears on our capacity for empathy.

Love Is in the Air: Are You Ready?

By Vijayeta Sinh Ph.D. on February 13, 2018 in Life in Balance
It takes more than updating your dating profile to find love.

The Psychopath Next Door

Under ancestral conditions, one’s social world was limited. So people had to play nice. Urbanization has changed all that - opening the door for psychopaths in our world.