The Allure of Romance

Romance novels are the best-selling genre in fiction because they promise not just love, but the evolutionary need for fit, fertile, and committed mates.

Control Freak or Healthy Sense of Control?

Having control in our lives is a basic human need, and a lack of it leads to depression and anxiety, but pursuing control to relieve anxiety can lead some people to become "control freaks", impinging on the lives of people around them. Finding the right balance is the key.

The Thing We Fear More Than Death

Humans evolved as social animals to defend themselves from predators and other threats. Being rejected from the group was probably as good as death for early humans, left to survive on their own. We fear public speaking because we fear rejection, equating this on a primal level with the risk of dying alone.

When Experience Is Not the Best Teacher

As Hurricane Sandy nears the East Coast, many are preparing and evacuating but not everyone will head the warnings. It is said that experience is the best teacher, but experience teaches us the wrong lesson about rare risks, leading many to think rare risks like hurricanes will never hurt them.

The Meaning of Near Death Experiences in This Life

The explanation for near death experiences is often debated, but whatever their explanation these experiences have a profound impact on those who have them.

Getting Honest About Sex and Why We Do It

People are not always open or honest about sex, and don't always fully understand it, but by telling their stories anonymously in The Sex Diaries Project, people reveal the risks they take and why they take them.

The Gift of a Crisis

We can respond to a crisis by seeing ourself as a victim or by rising to overcome it and working for a greater purpose.

Sex and the Single Primate

Men are drawn to take risks in pursuit of women. A photo of a pretty face is all it takes for men to reduce how risky sex seems to them.

Climate Change: A Psychological Challenge

Climate change is a big problem without quick or easy answers, making denial an attractive solution. Real solutions should avoid the fear, anxiety, and gloom that drive us toward denial and away from better answers.

Taking Risks to Attract Women

Men have a reputation for taking more risks than women. One motivation for this might be to attract women.

Adapted for a Changing World

When looking for clues about the origin of humanity, the Great Rift Valley in East Africa is the place to go. One view is that humanity was shaped by a changing climate in this ancient region, making us highly adaptable and the dominant species on Earth today, ushering in a new era of climate change we're dealing with today.

Predators and Social Security

How we see risks in our lives is the result of millions of years of evolution that shaped our species, making us who we are today. Predators were a major evolutionary force, driving early human development as a social species, and enabling our role as the dominant species on Earth today.

The Risky Business of Life

We see our world through a warped lens, shaped by the risks our ancestors faced through human evolution. We're still on the lookout for predators and snakes, but have a hard time dealing with long-term risks like climate change or rare risks like earthquakes and financial collapses. By better understanding how we see risks, we can do a better job at dealing with them.