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

Out of the Shadows: Shining Light on the Vampire Community

New research on modern day vampires sheds light on this misunderstood community.
T. Mairunteregger

Seligman on Tour

Is "prospection" the newest and holiest of grails in psychology? Seligman: "Yes." We: "No."
Monica Riordan

Emojis: Tools for Emotions

Communicating affect in text messages. 

Why Are Some States "Tighter" Than Others?

State-level differences in making and enforcing rules can help us understand why illicit drug use is lower—and levels of cautiousness are higher—in the South than in the West.

When Do Friends Matter Most?

By Lydia Denworth on May 18, 2017 in Brain Waves
Having friends is strongly associated with health and longevity, but scientists are only starting to ask when the effects of social relationships emerge and how long they last.

Empathy in Literature and Film

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on May 18, 2017 in Hot Thought
Empathy in literature and film works by three modes of empathy: verbal analogies, physiological mimicry, and non-verbal simulation of chains of emotional experiences.

How Important Is Your Dog in Your Family and Social Life?

New data shows just how significant a part of our social and family lives our dogs have become.

The Didge and You

The gurgling sound of the Didgeridoo touches a sensibility that is neither verbal nor emotional. Yet, it invites us to consider what we share.
Wikimedia Commons

The Unexpected Costs of Extraordinary Experiences

By Gus Cooney on May 17, 2017 in Real Talk
How talking about extraordinary experiences can spoil our conversations
pixabay.com

Required Summer Reading

In a landmark study of why human beings believe what they believe and do what they do, Robert Sapolsky demonstrates that brains and cultures evolve; genes don't determine anything.

6 Ways to Say Something Nice about People You Don't Like

We’d like to think that it’s easy to come up with a positive evaluation of almost anyone, but what do you do when you’ve got nothing nice to say? New research provides 6 key tips.

What You Should Be Thinking When You Argue With Your Partner

Do you argue with your partner often? A little self-awareness can go a long way.

3 Things You Should Stop Doing Right Now

Sometimes, it's good to conform to social norms. Other times, it's bad for your health and happiness.
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Ghosted? 6 Ways to Make the Bad Feelings Disappear

Has this happened to you? Someone you like suddenly seems to stop liking you, and you can’t figure out why.

Fast Friends or Friends Fast

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 14, 2017 in Ambigamy
Clinging to old friends for fear of being stranded alone? There's another way. Get faster at turning new acquaintances into easy cozy friends.

The Stories We Tell About Single People Aren't True

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on May 13, 2017 in Living Single
In many important ways, single people are thriving. How is that possible, when they don’t have the support of a spouse, and they are stereotyped and stigmatized?

Every Human Interaction, Explained

The secret motive underlying all of our interactions, according to a famous acting coach.

The Subtle Impact of “Pomp and Circumstance”

You can’t attend graduation without hearing Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” trio. Here’s four reasons why this tune remains a significant part of the commencement experience.

More Than Just a Pretty Face: Unmasking Furry Fandom

Recent research debunks common misconception of the furry community as a bunch of sexual "deviants" or misfits.

4 Ways To Bring Self-Esteem to Your Romantic Relationship

When one or both members of a romantic union feel positively about themselves romantic bliss becomes less elusive. Here are 4 ways to work on your self-esteem in your relationship.

People Wrongly Gauge How Much They're Observed By Others

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on May 10, 2017 in Media Spotlight
How invisible do you really feel when you are people watching? New research explores the invisibility cloak illusion and what it can mean in social situations

Teamwork, Community, and the Release of Joel Guerrero

Joel Guerrero was detained by ICE for shoddy reasons, leaving a pregnant wife home alone and a community in stress. Today, Joel is free, due in part to political activism.

Older Adults and Mental Health

While many older Americans are embracing an entirely new attitude toward aging, many are still caught up in the stigma and isolation of our attitudes around mental health.

What do Teenage Relationships Really Look Like?

How can you give teens the space they need to explore the more ambiguous, complicated aspects of their relationships? An open mind and willing heart could make a difference.

Beyond Binary: How Bisexuality Shifts Orientation Science

Current research on bisexuality challenges our understandings of orientation as a simple, homogeneous concept.

Casual Sex On Tinder

What goes into the decision-making process of people who use Tinder to hook up?

Rehearsals and Reversals and More Rehearsals

By Bernard L. De Koven on May 08, 2017 in On Having Fun
When, from the very wings of your psyche, you hear your inner thespian, wording and re-wording what next to say

11 Ways We All Benefit When More People Are Single

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on May 07, 2017 in Living Single
Here are 11 ways that the rise of single people is making it possible for more people to live their best lives and for communities to thrive.

Seven Guidelines for Making a Great Goodbye

Whether you’re moving on with your job, leaving town, or just moving across town, there are times you need to bid farewell. Make yours memorable with these 7 tips.

Voyage to Kazohinia: A Diametric Dystopia

Sándor Szathmári’s satirical novel, Voyage to Kazohinia, is based on an implicit insight into the diametric model of mental illness.