The COVID crisis throws into relief what happens when grief has—quite literally—nowhere to go. The evidence suggests that most people summon strengths that surpass their own expectations.
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Why we do what we do
Nigel Barber Ph.D.
Reopening the economy brought alarming recent increases in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Are Americans up to this challenge?
We are locked in a chess game with the pandemic.
How is it possible for humans to exist outside nature if all species arose from the same process of evolution by natural selection?
Social-distancing rules cast a spotlight on our normal use of social spaces and point to the key role of distances in regulating social interactions.
The pandemic altered our social interactions and changed the way we work. These changes occurred in just a few days.
Our ancestors have eaten meat for millions of years, possibly to satisfy the requirements of large brains.
Experiments in Paris find that problem-solving is possible in organisms that lack even a central nervous system.
Men are three times as likely as women to admit that they do not wear face masks. This fits with a broader pattern of better health behavior by women.
Animals must benefit from current opportunities to survive, whether to feed, to evade predators, or to mate.
When poets and rock stars die young, we may attribute the tragic early loss to a pattern, such as the seemingly cursed age of 27 years.
Early humans migrated widely through Eurasia. Why were they so restless and why did their great-ape ancestors remain in place?
Even as many of us are trapped indoors due to the pandemic, our moods rise on bright days and plumb the depths after days of rain.
The coronavirus pandemic may tell us whether we can resolve climate change by modifying individual behavior.
In wartime, national leaders generally become extremely popular. Think Winston Churchill during the war, or George W. Bush after 9/11.
Garret Hardin's analysis of commons grazing systems concluded that they are inherently dysfunctional and disintegrate due to human greed— but the commons flourish, even today.
Recent survey data show that Republicans are significantly less likely than Democrats to view the coronavirus as a valid threat.
When our ancestors settled down on permanent farms, agriculture was born. When agriculture became super productive, cities were born.
When it comes to personal appearance, novelist Virginia Woolf was probably correct. Her satirical question may have been rhetorical, but it does have an answer.
If we did not experience emotions, life might not be worth living. Negative emotions also give rise to most of the pain we experience.
The belief in getting something for nothing is a compelling illusion that boosts shopping.
Guilt about weight is unhelpful, but arguing that we have no control over our weight is even worse.
Some occupations remain very segregated by gender. Some of these differences reflect evolutionary specializations of men and women.
The key problem with capitalism is a conflict between workers and owners. We see this in the increasing luxury of owners and the bitter economic struggles of workers.
Some penguin populations are crumbling in the face of Antarctic warming. Others are changing their behavior and prospering telling us a great deal about human adaptability.
If we understood what idleness can do for our brains, perhaps we would encourage it more.
Environmentalists believe that individual actions can save the environment from carbon pollution. One such action is driving electric cars that emit no carbon while running.
The modern human environment is replete with substances that mimic sex hormones. Could these chemicals play a role in contemporary gender fluidity?
Many domestic animals can prosper in the wild despite having adapted to thousands of years in captivity.
Some in-laws get along better than blood relatives. Yet, family conflicts often divide along bloodlines. This reflects real conflicts of interest more than genetic relatedness.
The memories of skilled storytellers may seem remarkable but probably have fairly mundane explanations.
Nigel Barber, Ph.D., is an evolutionary psychologist as well as the author of Why Parents Matter and The Science of Romance, among other books.