How Valuable is the Future?

Parents send their tearful child to bed with the assertion that tomorrow is another day. Yet, the concept of the future is poorly developed in small children.

Is Joy Communal?

The epidemic of depression that emerged with urbanization in the US is often attributed to loneliness in large cities. Perhaps it is also due to less opportunities to express joy.

Did Jesus Exist?

In an earlier post, I argued that the historicity of Jesus was doubtful. Now, new scholarship comes as close as possible to settling the issue.

What Do Workers Really Want?

A lot of Americans are feeling disgruntled about how they are treated in the current economy – as highlighted by the popularity of presidential candidates like Sanders and Trump.

Panic as Fight-or-Flight

The key quality of pathological anxiety is that it is out of proportion to any actual threat. Why do people endanger their health by being extremely anxious in this way?

Art Is More About Work Than Sex

The sexual exploits of male rock stars is legendary and their sexual magnetism draws an endless supply of enthusiastic female partners. So do men get creative for sex?

Life After Wealth

Most of us struggle to make a living and aspire to a future where money is less of an issue. What would our lives be like if we became wealthy enough to abandon the rat race?

Are America's Best Days Over?

In his book, The rise and Fall of American Growth, Robert Gordon argues that America's exceptional growth is over, and that innovation isn't what it used to be.

Why Are Major Wars Declining?

Given the pain of conflicts from Ukraine to Syria, it might seem strange to argue that major wars are declining, but they are.

What Goes Viral in Cyberspace

When readers select from an online menu of casual reading, what do they want? Researchers set out to solve this problem by analyzing what gets shared.

How Warlike Were Our Ancestors?

A recent find of hunter-gatherer war dead on the shores of Lake Turkana, Kenya, reignited an old controversy. Did our pre-agricultural ancestors fight wars, or were they peaceful?

Do Vitamins Have Placebo Effects?

After years of hearing that vitamin supplementation was protective of health, we are now hearing that they are a waste of money for people with an adequate diet.

This Worker Has So Much More to Offer

We are accustomed to thinking about occupations in terms of opportunity. One assumes that an employee acquires skills and becomes more valuable, better paid, and happier.

Everyday Delusions of Success

Clinical delusions involve a sharp break with reality. Delusions of everyday living are milder. They are a mark of psychological health and well-being.

Why the News Is Loaded With Violence

If it bleeds, it leads according to a journalistic aphorism. This emphasis distorts reality and reinforces grisly crimes. But where in the human psyche does it come from?

Solving the Health-Religion Puzzle

Religion boosts health in the US. Yet, the most religious countries are the sickest. This paradox is explained in terms of stress management.

Are Men More Sexual than Women?

Marked differences between male and female sexuality was supported by solid evidence around the globe. Such distinctions are getting blurred in developed countries.

Why Countries Get Rich

The breathtaking increase in wealth with development is due to steadily increasing wages that are tied to rising worker productivity. Why do employees work harder for the company?

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 Shawn's character memorably expressed it in the movie My Dinner with Andre - you have two choices. Either you get seriously humble along with Shawn, 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?

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?