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

Taking A Step Back Could Save Your Relationship

By Amie M. Gordon PhD on March 25, 2017 in Between You and Me
Looking at disagreements from the view of an outside observer provides new insights that just might change the course of your relationship.

How To Be Less Awkward at Ending Small Talk

By Andy Molinsky Ph.D. on March 25, 2017 in Adaptation
Want to Be Less Awkward at Ending Small Talk? Do These 5 Things

Six Winning Body Language Techniques

Do you know about the secret powers of touch, or of eye contact? How about the "bubble"?

Interpersonal Attraction

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on March 24, 2017 in A Sideways View
What has evolutionary science to say about physical attractiveness?

19 and Reclusive

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on March 24, 2017 in How To Do Life
The latest in my series of interviews with reclusive people.

Back to School

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on March 23, 2017 in One Among Many
From Kindergarten to graduate school, education is embedded in a system. Teachers and students are not free agents. Let’s liberate them a bit.

Hate Your Partner Some Days? Research Shows You're Not Alone

By Amie M. Gordon PhD on March 23, 2017 in Between You and Me
Do you sometimes hate your partner? If so, you're not alone. It turns out we all have times when we hate the people we love the most. Although some of us may not even know it.

It's Not Me, It's You

By Lydia Denworth on March 23, 2017 in Brain Waves
New research on "you" reveals the power of pronouns in helping us process and make meaning from hard times.

Finding Yourself in the New Tribalism

By Carol S. Pearson Ph.D. on March 23, 2017 in The Hero Within
Neotribalism is a sociological term that describes the way many countries are splintering apart in response to a global society in which it is difficult to find our individual iden

“I’d Rather Not Be a Recluse”

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on March 23, 2017 in How To Do Life
The latest in a series of profiles on reclusive people.

Why are Some Women Still Afraid to Speak Up?

Observing the behavior of women in groups suggests that women still choose a particular mask to wear depending on the audience.

Why Do Some Men Get Premature Championship Tattoos?

By Kevin Bennett on March 22, 2017 in Modern Minds
Why do some men get premature championship tattoos? Here are four reasons why you might go for some skin art that predicts a successful season for your favorite team.

We Are All Mojo Addicts

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 21, 2017 in Ambigamy
We all gravitate toward self-revitalizing signs of hope, and in the process, we generate social and interpersonal congestion.

Who's Harder to Buy Gifts for, Men or Women? It Depends!

Who’s harder to buy gifts for, men or women? It depends on who’s doing the giving!

The Psychosocial Risks of Social Media and the Internet

By Jean Kim M.D. on March 21, 2017 in Culture Shrink
We need to remain vigilant about the risks of social media's influence on our society and human behaviors.

You Are What You Think

Ways to change common negative thoughts and make positive life changes.

Predatory Polyamory?

My first blog on this topic told monogamous folks that they did not need to worry about poly people trying to steal their partners, but readers wrote in telling a different story.

Predators Prey on Politeness: 5 Spring Break Travel Tips

Think you can spot a predator while traveling? Here are 5 tips to make sure you can. Take these precautions to ensure that your Spring Break travel is both satisfying and safe.

Social Norms, Moral Judgments, and Irrational Parenting

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on March 19, 2017 in Freedom to Learn
We are all conformists; it’s part of human nature. But sometimes our conformist nature leads us to do things that are downright silly or, worse, tragic.

Looking for Love?

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on March 16, 2017 in Cravings
Where do people look for love and friendship? And where do they actually find it?

Too Many Questions!

How do you handle a friend who asks too many questions…to the extent that you feel like you’re being interrogated?

Harvard Study Finds Genetic ‘Toggle Switch’ for Sociability

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have pinpointed specific neuronal circuitry and a 'toggle switch' that can turn a mouse's sociability "on" and "off" in the laboratory.

Climate Change: How to Prevent Workplace Harassment

The workplace is our home away from home; let´s work together to keep it predator-free. Here are some methods of preventing sexual harassment from becoming sexual assault.

The Control Freak

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on March 15, 2017 in A Sideways View
Why do some people need to exercise constant and control of their own lives and others around them? Are they really freaks or is this need both relatively common and even adaptive?

Sexual Harassment Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Sexual Harassment: Do you know it when you see it? Many people don´t--including the perpetrators.

Empathy: There’s an App For That!

By Sara Konrath Ph.D. on March 14, 2017 in The Empathy Gap
The science behind using mobile phones for good

How Popular is Sexting Among Teens?

Researchers from Utah have returned to a high school after four years to track changes in the popularity of sending sexual images via smartphones.

Helping Young Children Understand and Build Friendships

By Kyle D. Pruett M.D. on March 13, 2017 in Once Upon a Child
Play, from early in our lives, creates the vocabulary of friendship.

Can a Friendship Survive Major Political Disagreement?

Can friends stay friends when they disagree about politics? Here's how strategies like self-determination, curiosity, and respect can help you keep your friendships intact.

Avoiding "Fatal Attractions" in Intimate Relationships

Finding the right partner can be challenging. Picking one who will not annoy you or turn you off in the long run can be even harder. Fortunately, research can help...