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

The Social Layers of TV and Film Fandom

How is watching your favorite show a form of "social media"?

Hate Small Talk? It’s a Skill Worth Learning

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on April 24, 2015 in Off the Couch
Do you hate small talk? You’re not alone, of course. Maybe you’re shy, or introverted, or maybe you’re bored by it. Or do you get irritated by the apparently endless and meaningless chatter? Here are 5 reasons to change your mind. And 5 techniques for getting better at it.

Love Is a Roller Coaster

Freefalling into love is most thrilling when we've made a climb.

The Decline of Violence

You might not know it by watching TV, but violence in the modern world is at a historic low. This fact may well be the silver lining of evolutionary mismatch!

Verde Primaverile

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 21, 2015 in One Among Many
As in previous, Italian-titled posts, I put together some fragments for your enjoyment and mulling. Two of today’s chips are on happiness.

Technology May Be Ruining Your Ability to Read Emotions

Research shows how our digital world may be taking a toll on our emotional intelligence.

How We Frame Emotions Through Facial Expressions

How our faces express emotions is a moving window into our minds.

Homework: An Hour a Day Is All the Experts Say

How much time does your teen spend doing busy school work each night? According to a recent study, if it's more than one hour…then it's too much.

Backward America

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in Hidden Motives
Do we just take it for granted that the U.S. is the best at everything? We don’t seem to notice how bad things really are or how much better off other countries are in ways we used to excel.

Being a Book Lover

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Being a heavy reader is far less common than it used to be. European surveys suggest that leisure reading has dropped significantly in favour of watching television, for example. Still, books can have a powerful influence on readers. A new research study shows there are far more benefits to reading than you might think.

Alien Landing in Sindelfingen

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 19, 2015 in One Among Many
Imagine a world in which “learning” is easy. Believe anything! Such a world exists. It was recently put on display in Sindelfingen, Germany.

I'm Having An Impossible Time With A Break-Up

Breaking Up in The Age of Social Media

All Kids Lie To Their Parents. But When? How Much?

Respecting children's boundaries while staying strict and engaged is the best way to encourage them to share information and to keep them from lying.

3 Tips for Seeking Compassion When Emotionally Distressed

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on April 19, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
When you want to reach out after an emotionally distressing event, which person is more likely to be compassionate and supportive, someone who has been through a similar experience or someone who has not? Read on to find out...

The Art and Science of Haggling

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on April 18, 2015 in A Sideways View
Often the most popular skills based courses are those on negotiation. They teach among other things the gentle but very important arts of haggling and persuasion: in short how to get a good deal. Why is it so important and what is the fundamental psychology of haggling?

Fifty Shades of Gay

By Rick Miller LICSW on April 17, 2015 in Unwrapped
An ever-widening spectrum of choices and possibilities means that the gay community is truly taking on all of the colors of the rainbow, every shade and hue.

What Your Facebook Use Reveals About Your Personality

Research shows the way you interact on social media says a lot about your personality and your self-esteem.

The Upside of Jealousy

Simply put, jealousy is motivated by fear. When fear is driving your behaviors, it is essential to tune into the cognitive components that accompany the fear to help you break it down and make it containable.

Putting the Happiness Back in “Young and Happy”

By Ran Zilca on April 17, 2015 in Confessions of a Techie
Happiness is a by-product of the pursuit of success, rather than successful accomplishments. Individuals who are actively engaged in the pursuit of goals that are meaningful to them, experience a range of positive emotions and become happier.

Expanding the Self

We should reciprocate the gift of our own lives..... To be focused narrowly - worrying excessively about our personal skills and accomplishments and about the public's regards of these - is to remain forever a child.

The 4 Styles of Humor

What do you find funny, and what sort of humor appeals to you? Research has focused on different humor styles, and distinguishes four types.

7 Online Dating Tips for Introverts

By Sophia Dembling on April 14, 2015 in The Introvert's Corner
Online dating can be great for introverts, but it's easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged. A few tips to help master the learning curve.

Is There an Epidemic of Fake Service Dogs?

In order to gain access to public places such as restaurants and hotels with their pets a number of people are purchasing service dog vests and meaningless assistance dog identification cards and certificates from commercial online service dog registries. These do not require that the dog be trained nor that the person have a disability.

When Friends Take Sides After a Breakup

After a breakup—whether it’s one between friends or lovers—it’s not unusual for friends of the twosome to take sides.

Net Losses

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on April 14, 2015 in In Excess
A number of market research reports have indicated that many office employees spend at least one hour of their day at work on various non-work activities (e.g., booking holidays, shopping online, posting messages on social networking sites, playing online games, etc.) and costs businesses millions of dollars a year. But what can be done to prevent it?

Heisenberg Capacitor

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in One Among Many
Here’s Part III of my effort to strike a blow for hedonism by nullifying Nozick’s experience machine. Reality as it is is good enough. Enjoy it.

Breaking Good

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in All About Addiction
Coming face to face with your own shame and emotion about the past can be hard. This is me trying to do it in public.

Feeling Grateful and 'Paying it Forward'

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in Media Spotlight
According to the "find, remind, and bind" theory of gratitude first proposed by psychologist Sara B. Algoe, gratitude plays a role in cementing the social bonds we have with other people. A new research study published in the journal Emotion suggests that grateful are more likely to copy body movements of those who help them which can help cement new relationships.

The Experience Machine Reloaded

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 12, 2015 in One Among Many
In a famous thought experiment, philosopher Robert Nozick tried to refute hedonism, or the idea that pleasure is the best and pain is the worst. But not so fast, please.

Can We Exercise Too Much?

By Pirkko Markula Ph.D. on April 12, 2015 in Fit Femininity
Physical activity has been proven to improve physical and psychological health. However, is any amount of exercise good? Too much exercise can prevent psychological well-being. When excessive exercise develops into exercise dependence, it becomes compulsive behaviour that controls the exerciser's life.