The Aurora Shootings and The Mean World Syndrome

When the news and entertainment media normalize violence, we live in fear, which does us great harm in many ways.

Fear of the Physical Threat of Climate Change Is Starting to Trump Ideological Denial

Fear of the tangible physical threat from extreme weather is starting to soften ideological denial of climate change. Safety comes first, tribal solidarity comes second.

Nukes and Tanning Beds: How the Same Risk Can Feel So different

Why are some HIGH risk forms of radiation, like tanning beds, less frightening than some lower risk forms, like nuclear power? And how does getting risk wrong, raise our risk!?

Silent Spring is 50. The Credit, and the Blame, It Deserves

The passion of Silent Spring brought many benefits, but it's naive simplicity has done much harm.

So You Think You Can Think? Think Again!

The brain is only the organ with which we think we think. Our judgments and choices are mostly shaped by deeper subconscious instinctive and emotional imperatives.

How Tribalism Makes a Risky Word Even More Dangerous

We social human animals depend on our tribes for survival. Our instinct to help preserve the tribe, and remain a safe member in good standing, shapes our views and easily overrides reason and morality.

The Heartland Billboard Embarrassment. The Danger of Ideological Ignorance

We argue more fiercely over issues not to be right, but to keep ourselves safe.

Be Grateful for the Good Journalists

We criticize journalists, fairly, so often that we forget to appreciate the good ones. A loving homage to my father, who just passed away.

The Heartlessness of Health Care Cost Control as You Watch a Loved One Die

The economics of health care cost control seem so wrong when a dying loved one needs care.

Chronic Stress Can Shrink Your Brain

Want something else to worry about? Worry about worrying too much. The evidence is building that chronically elevated stress shrinks your brain!

A Startlingly Democratic Solution to the Problem of Nuclear Waste

A panel of experts advises Congress that siting a nuclear waste repository will never happen without community consent. We take risks voluntarily that we reject when they're imposed.

Time to Worry About Worrying Too Much

Worrying can be really bad for our health, worse by far than some of the things we worry about. It causes the biological harms of chronic stress, which are broad and profound.

The Climate Change Winds (of Fear) May Be Shifting

Abstract risks scare us less than concrete ones. risks in the future scare us less than those which are more immediate. Extreme weather events may make climate change concern deeper and stronger and instigate action and progress.

The Tribal Roots of Team Spirit

Sports are only less violent surrogates of a basic human need: belonging to a tribe that's doing well.

9/11 + 10: The Costs of Fear

Some of our responses to the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 created new risks, huge risks that are the price we pay when we act out of fear.

Hurricane Hype: Overreaction? Nonsense!

There was a lot of hype and excitement leading up to Storm Irene, but people did not overreact. Getting ready, and being prepared, make complete sense.

Statistical Numbing: Why Millions Can Die and We Don’t Care

A single victim moves us more, emotionally, than many. Which means lack of public concern will continue to contribute to mass suffering.

Cool Dudes, Hot Temps: The Climate Change Argument Isn't About the Facts

People argue about climate change facts, but the real conflict is about underlying worldviews. Which is why the argument will get us nowhere.

Vaccines and Fear: It’s Time for Society to Say Enough Is Enough

The fear of vaccines has not been reduced by communication and dialogue, and is causing diseases to spread. It is time for governments to regulate the behavior of those who refuse to vaccinate themselves or their children.

Toward a More Holistic Definition of "Risk"

Risk perception is subjective. Sometimes what feels right is wrong, and dangerous. We need to consider a new definition of risk, in order to make more thoughtful, healthier choices, as individuals and as a society.

The Silly Storm over Storm

A Toronto couple's efforts to protect their kids from gender stereotypes, makes news, and teaches lessons. It's Nurture AND Nature, not one or other other.

A Final Message from Osama bin Laden

The tribalism that drove Osama bin laden was an extreme version of a survival instinct we all share. At our peril.

Cancer, Choice, Beer, and Fear

Engaging in risky behavior voluntarily makes it feel less risky. It doesn't mean the risk goes down, though, only the fear. And THAT may raise your risk!

New Danger Blowing in from Japan

What is the biggest health risk from the Japanese nuclear disaster? Hint; It's not the radiation.

Poor Risk Communication In Japan Makes the Fear Much Worse

There are two risks from radiation. One is the radioactivity itself, the other is fear. Mistakes with risk communication are hampering Japan's efforts to deal with the psychological effects of the nuclear crisis.

Take the Cultural Cognition Quiz

Our positions and views are based in part on the facts, but even  more on our underlying drive to survive by being a loyal member of the tribe.