Why Are Republicans so Bad for Business?

Republican politicians bill themselves as pro-business, pro-growth, and pro-opportunity. Yet the financial facts say otherwise. Republican administrations bring hard times, for rich and poor alike. Why are their results so different from their aims? Perhaps Democrats are better at motivating workers.

Is Marriage the Cure for Poverty?

Marriage is correlated with prosperity in the U.S. So many conservatives promote marriage as a financial elixir. Yet this perspective is scientifically flawed. It also suffers from too narrow a geographical focus on conditions in the U.S.

New Insight on Climate and Work Effort

Historians and economists point to favorable climate as an advantage enjoyed by Europeans so that these countries developed early, became wealthier, and dominated the globe through innovation, military aggression, and trade. I wondered whether unpleasant climate saps work motivation.

Why Are Modern Families so Small?

The fact that modern families are so small is perhaps the biggest embarrassment to an evolutionary approach to human societies. After all, the key assumption is that humans are shaped by natural selection in ways that enhance reproductive success. Why are we defying nature with small families?

Why Women Make Better Investors than Men

In a world that has a thousand beatings in store for you every day you get up - as Wally Shawm's character memorably expressed it in the movie My Dinner with Andre - you have two choices. Either you get seriously humble along with Shawm, or you get spectacularly lucky. These options are illustrated by investment differences between men and women.

The Human-Robot Interface

The digital revolution is about to steal most people's jobs as artificial intelligence does our work ever more efficiently. What about caring for children and the elderly? If these tasks are soon to be taken on by robots, what will the interface look like? How will interacting with robots affect us?

What Behaviors Do We Inherit via Genes?

A pervasive assumption in evolutionary psychology is that how we act is affected by the genes we carry. Is there good concrete evidence of this? Are our outcomes predetermined by our biology? The most intriguing findings on this issue come from twin studies.

Are Humans Adapted to Modern Life?

Did gene-based evolution stop after the Agricultural Revolution? Is the Digital Age inhabited by Stone Age people as many evolutionary psychologists claim? I suggest that evolutionary processes - genetic and non-genetic - continue to this day.

Stereotypical Gender Differences in Sexuality Are Crumbling

Marked differences between male and female sexuality used to be supported by solid evidence around the globe. The trouble is that such distinctions are getting blurred in developed countries.

Is Religion an Excuse for Laziness?

Historians associate the Protestant reformation with the rise of capitalism. Protestants found a new sense of responsibility for their own salvation. They worked harder for material success as well. Members of earlier, less individualistic, religions did not work as hard. Was their religion an excuse for laziness?

Can Artificial Intelligence Make Us Stupid?

Changing technology stimulates the brain and increases intelligence. But that may only be true if the technology challenges us. In a world run by intelligent machines, our lives could get a lot simpler. Would that make us less intelligent?

Why Sex and Violence Go Together: Insights of Other Species

In a recent post, I addressed links between violent crime and male sexual competition. Now, I want to ask whether animal analogies really illumine human aggression. If a young man kills an acquaintance in a Detroit bar, does this have anything to do with elephant seals battering each other to death in the breeding season?

Top 5 Signs That Women Are Converging With Men

Fairly rigid gender divisions of the past are giving way to a much more equal relationship. Women are begin to act, and feel more like men even as men's actions and sensibilities are converging with women What are the unmistakable signs that women are becoming more like men?

5 Signs That Men and Women Are Converging

Fairly rigid gender divisions of the past are giving way to a much more equal relationship for Millennials. Men's actions and sensibilities are converging with women in remarkable ways even as women begin to act, and feel more like men. What are the key signs that this is happening?

Is the Modern World More Violent?

If it bleeds, it leads is a truism of news coverage. We all sympathize with the victims of senseless violence, and their families, because we know that it could have been us, and our families. Yet, our world has never been less violent – except in news media and entertainment.

Why Violent Crime Is Shrinking

Rising crime rates during the twentieth century were a small blip on a very steep decline extending back to the fourteenth century and earlier. That stunning conclusion emerged only in the last decade. Causes of most of the long-term decline are currently unknown. That of the past few decades seems simpler.

Does Wealth Equate to Satisfaction?

Yes, we all know that people are happier in wealthier countries, that a nation gets happier as its GDP grows, and that high income people report being happier than their less well paid counterparts (1). Yet, there is a certain hollowness to the wealth equals happiness equation that Maslow understood.

Violent Crime Linked to Male Sexuality

In a recent post, I described how women are catching up on men in terms of criminal violence. Yet, the difference remains large and calls for explanation. Much of the gender difference is explainable in terms of male sexuality and societies where men compete directly for mates have more criminal violence.

Premarital Sex Rises with Economies

I have been analyzing Pew data on acceptance of premarital sex around the globe to see whether it fits in with the ecology of modern life. Is acceptance of premarital sex higher in developed countries? What about the risks of pregnancy, and disease? What about female participation in the workforce?

Can Women be as Violent as Men?

Gender equality is making strides in most occupations, including violent ones such as the military and police. If violent crime is a “job,” as Woody Allen referred to bank robbery in Take the Money and Run, can we expect to see gender equality there also?

Wife Swapping in the Stone Age

Anthropologists are all too familiar with the violence and bloodshed triggered by marital infidelity. Now they are coming to terms with a more mysterious phenomenon—consensual wife sharing. If a man flies into homicidal rages when his wife cheats on him, why would he encourage another man to sleep with her?

Walking to Boost Creativity

We are all familiar with the health problems caused by obesity. These problems are peculiar to a modern sedentary way of life and are virtually unknown in physically active subsistence societies. Now evidence builds that physical activity is crucial for brain health, and even for creativity.

Cities Are Green After All

Many of us are accustomed to think of urban smog as a root cause of global warming and environmental degradation that is pushing us to an existential precipice. Leading environmentalist Stewart Brand thinks otherwise. He explains why he was weaned from the village romanticism of a Mahatma Gandhi.

Are Men or Women More in Demand?

Men generally want to have sex earlier in a relationship than women. This is consistent with the pattern for other species where males are more eager to mate whereas females invest more in young and are more discriminating. How does this pattern play out in modern environments?

The Flynn Effect as Adaptive Change

All living creatures can change to fit in with their environment. Some of that flexibility is due to gene selection but a lot is developmental. The Flynn effect of rising IQ in developed countries is an enrichment effect of modern life. It arises due to the adaptive response of our brain to the increased challenges it faces.

Is Digital Life Risky?

Young people who grew up with digital technologies and cannot conceive of a life without the Internet, digital games, and social media are sometimes called “digital natives” whereas older generations who acquired these technologies as adults are “digital immigrants.” Digital natives have many advantages but “addiction” to screens has its critics.

Why Childhood Stress Crimps Academic Performance

Animals from an environment full of risk remain vigilant and avoid exploring their surroundings. This promotes survival but has the indirect consequence of reducing their cognitive ability. A similar pattern applies to humans and shows up as academic under performance.

Are Men More Caring Where They Outnumber Women?

In romance, as in real estate it is either a buyer's market, or a seller's market. If there is a scarcity of men (or women) in a society, they get the best deal. If men are in demand, they can play the field. If women are in demand, they can hold out for a desirable partner who is kind, intelligent, and affluent.

Marketers' Shocking New Ability to Target Women

During the fertile phase of their monthly cycle, women are prone to greater risk taking. For psychologists, this means that they are more likely to initiate sexual affairs. Marketers discovered that women are more likely to try new brands as well. Now they plan to use this fact in targeted marketing. Assuming that they get away with it, will the scheme work?

Are Humans Unique?

The argument for human uniqueness is of mostly historical interest. As we gained more understanding of animal behavior, we learned that their psychology has more in common with us than had been imagined previously.